Will cars of the future be driving themselves asks Ginny Weeks
Lengthy commutes and traffic-logged school runs could soon be a thing of the past as a new era of driverless car travel is on its way.
The UK Government predicts that by 2030 we will have fully autonomous vehicles on our roads, meaning less traffic, fewer accidents and lower pollution levels.
If we all embrace the idea driverless cars will be driving us on regular journeys and further afield meaning passengers can spend their time much like they do on the train –working, reading, enjoying the view or watching TV. According to the same research, this could free up to 235 hours of driving time every year.
Self-driving cars may seem like a long way off but many modern vehicles are already featuring self-driving technology. Here are some examples:
- Emergency braking – soon to be a standard safety feature in all new cars, emergency braking uses a combination of radar and sensors to act independently from the driver in the case of an impending accident. If the system senses a near collision it will automatically halt the car. An example of this is VW’s City Emergency Braking
- Lane-keeping assist software – this works by warning the driver if the car is deviating from a lane and, depending on the system, it can then correct the car via control of the brakes, steering and acceleration. For example, Toyota’s Lane Keeping Assist:
- Adaptive cruise control – this safety system works via a series of sensors and as well as keeping the car at the desired speed it automatically keeps it at a safe distance from the vehicle in front. BMW’s version of this is Active Cruise Control:
- Self-parking – many modern cars can now use their sensors to park themselves. All they need from the driver is help with braking and accelerating but some don’t even need that. Lexus has recently introduced its Intuitive Parking Assist system which has had excellent reviews
All these technologies help to build what will one day be a fully self-driving car. For now we will have to watch as autonomous technology transforms the car industry and develops modern vehicles into cars that function ever more seamlessly with our lives.
15th October, 2015