Autonomous Vehicles: A Futuristic Idea or an Upcoming Reality?

man asleep in self driving autonomous vehicle

Autonomous vehicles, driverless and connected cars all have the same definition: a vehicle capable of navigating itself without human input. The idea is to reduce or completely exclude human interaction with the car and create a system that will work in conjunction with all vehicles on the road. This will help to control traffic, improve emissions compliance, help the environment and reduce the number of accidents on the streets.

The Connected World

The basic idea behind autonomous technology is the usage of various sensors to monitor the vehicle’s position for navigation and detecting obstacles. They also have a number of Artificial Intelligence features, cameras and a wide range of radars. As machines are much better at following instructions than humans, the cars will eliminate human errors as well as deliberate negligence on the road. This factor should decrease the number of accidents and traffic jams which occur, especially on major routes and in cities, making commuting and travelling much more efficient.

As well as this, perhaps the most exciting thing about autonomous vehicles is the connectivity they promise and their inclusion in the realisation of Smart Cities. With 5G the most anticipated feature of the near future, the Internet of Things will hopefully become fully enabled and smart cities will be a reality. IoT will connect autonomous vehicles, physical devices and buildings via embedded software, creating connected cityscapes with tech in constant communication. With the desirable infrastructure to support it in place, 5G & LoRaWAN will be the solutions which will enable all the connectivity, with reading and exchanging data only part of it.

Many experts claim that by 2025, fully autonomous cars will be a reality, and I believe that will only be the beginning. I’m sure in the near future we will see autonomous vehicles on the roads and if the technology behind it is mature enough, the public sector could link them with electric vehicle conversion from carbon-based fuels. However, the challenge will be to retrofit the human input on that type of vehicle and convert them to the ultimate “driving” experience. In that way, it will be possible to see autonomous vehicles turning into mobile offices or even homes! Incredible opportunities will lead the way and at Coderus, we have already started working on the technology that will hopefully foster the development of the field.

Mark Thomas, CEO of Coderus

The Negatives

Although this might sound appealing, it has been said by many to be too idealistic of a solution, considering many of the challenges which must be overcome before this technology becomes a reality. For example, ethical issues are something which must be considered, especially when it comes to accidents. In the case of a collision, which way should the car swerve? Should it protect the driver or the people in the other car? How do you “teach” technology human ethics when individuals would all make different decisions? These cases will all be highly debatable, and developers have the difficult task of having to find a universal solution to prevent or eliminate accidents. On the bright side, these debatable issues will raise the need of improving the legislation around transportation.

Additionally, cybersecurity risks must be considered. The increased tech in autonomous vehicles will make them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, raising safety issues that automotive and software development companies will have to deal with. With a few cases where hackers managed to remotely control autonomous cars, many concerns have been raised about safety and the large-scale impact actions like that might have.

The Future is Here

Combined with the idea of Smart Cities and a connected world, autonomous vehicles are a futuristic feature which, despite the challenges, will be a prominent concept in the years to come. Driverless cars will test not only the latest technology and how far software development companies can go, but the impact that they will have on people and society as well. Whether you’re a proponent or opponent at their current stage of development, once the kinks are worked out the automotive industry is set to be the promising solution for many major societal issues, such as eliminating traffic congestion or creating better driving conditions for the disabled.

One of the most anticipated changes is the improvement to the car entertainment sector, where there will be a whole new level of hardware and software in automobiles providing audio and video entertainment. Automotive navigation systems, video games, and connected devices are only a few of the projects Coderus are ready to embrace. After all, we cannot halt a technological evolution, but we can most definitely provide solutions to optimise its results and make the changes positive. Driverless cars, with all the supportive technology involved, can contribute to a better way of living by providing support to the disabled, commuters and families, and we are ready to contribute with our versatile and creative expertise.

As a software development company working on cutting edge mobile and embedded solutions, Coderus is actively involved with projects like The Gadget man’s epic electric car challenge powered by Tesla. We are eagerly awaiting the changes the automotive sector will bring and with our ISO certifications reflecting our ongoing commitment to quality and security standards and our experience in design services, we are ready to accept these new challenges.

December 13, 2018
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