Self-Driving Cars: When Will We Have Them and Should You Invest?

With continuous developments in technology, the world around us seems to constantly be evolving. One of the most prevalent ways we are seeing that at the moment is in the constant advancements in self-driving cars.

Whilst governments focus on the common implementation of Electric Cars to reduce Carbon Emissions, companies such as General Motors, Tesla and Toyota continue to work towards making driverless cars a reality. It was looking so promising at one point that the Guardian even published an article in 2015, declaring driverless will dominate the roads in 2020.

Well, 2020 has passed and though it was an incredibly eventful year, it was depraved of the rollout of self-driving cars. With this in mind, when are we likely to see them on the roads and are they something you should consider investing in?

How Do They Work?

It’s a simple theory. Use an in-car computer that knows the rules of the road down to a tee, whilst also fitting the outside of the car with cameras that can locate the whereabouts of nearby objects. Both of these things will allow a car to legally navigate from point A to point B, whilst watching out for potential hazards on the way, slowing down, speeding up, braking and steering appropriately.

As stated, it’s a simple theory, so why is it taking car manufacturers so long to make it happen?

The Limitations of Self-Driving Cars

Though the above explanation of how a self-driving car would work is technically true, it is also incredibly ambiguous. It glosses over what actually driving on the roads is like. Humans will interact with each other through the flashing of lights or eye contact in order to indicate who has right of way, they will also change their driving style depending on weather conditions whilst also reacting to situations with quick reflexes that simply can’t be encoded into a machine.

Whilst AI has come an incredibly long way over the past decade and is now used more than ever in our phones, laptops and in gaming, its limitations are highlighted by the limitations of self-driving cars. AI simply hasn’t come far enough in order to be able to solve real-world problems such as driving on the road.

In order to rectify these issues, self-driving cars need real road experience. In doing so they obtain data of how human-driven cars behave and how they can implement that data into their own performance. A lot of this experience is being done by driving simulations as oppose to on the actual road, which means that even once that information has been obtained, engineers need to ensure it is the right information.

Are Self-Driving Cars Safe?

Not yet. In March 2018, a 49-year-old woman called Elaine Herzberg was killed by a self-driving car in Arizona. The incident, whilst tragic, was also a reminder on how far the technology in self-driving cars needs to go before they are safe to use.

The issue that caused the incident is one that can and is currently being fixed. There was a feature in the car that made it so even after a hazard is detected, it allowed for a one second delay before reacting, during which time it could work out an alternative route or the driver of the car could take control. Whilst this feature may work for approaching a car you can overtake; it doesn’t work in situations that require fast reflexes.

Once these issues are fully rectified, self-driving cars have the prospect of being much safer than those driven by humans; however, unfortunately we are not there yet.

Should You Invest in Self-Driving Cars?

One thing that all of the companies currently trying to develop self-driving cars have in common is that none of them have done it yet. That means that the market remains wide open for investment, and those interested in investing in innovative and exciting ideas should genuinely consider it.

Their potential value has only gone up in recent years as thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the need for contactless technology has increased. Because of the anticipation in their development and their newfound necessity in light of recent events, an investment in self-driving cars could be extremely profitable.

Artist. Father. Son. Founder of London Diamonds Official