Driverless cars have gripped the headlines over the past year – particularly with news earlier this month that a car created by parts manufacturer Delphi Automotive has successfully completed a 3,400 mile trip across the US.
The introduction of self-driving vehicles raises hopes that congestion and road accidents will decrease, while productivity and mobility – particularly for the elderly or disabled – will rise.
The technology is already being trialed throughout the world. The UK revealed its first driverless car trial in February, the same day the government officially allowed driverless vehicles to be tested on Britain’s roads. The Lutz Pathfinder prototype is part of a test to ensure that such vehicles can comply with road rules, while the British government has spent £19 million ($36.7 million) towards the trial.
Here in Australia, the South Australian government in particular has expressed support for implementing driverless cars, with suggestions that legislation will be introduced before the end of 2015 to establish an initiative on SA roads. In Western Australia, Rio Tinto started trialing autonomous haulage vehicles on its sites in 2008 and now has 53 of them in operation at its Pilbara site.
Many car manufacturers have been racing to perfect the technology for driverless vehicles, including BMW, Nissan and Honda, but perhaps the most prolific stories come from the tech sector. Apple is rumoured to be testing out the technology, meanwhile Google unveiled its Self-Driving Car protoype in December 2014.
How soon before we’re all able to catch a ride in an automated vehicle is not yet known, but it is inevitable that they will, one day, be a regular feature of our roads.
This week’s infographic from Gryffin Media looks at the genesis of the automated car and the challenges it faces in the near future. Prepare yourself for autopilot!