Cars

Why You’re Not Seeing More Self-Driving Cars on the Road (Yet)

Self-driving car

Technology has come such a long way since cars were first invented so many years ago. Now, not only do cars have the ability help you stay in your lane, automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision, and warn you when someone is in your blind spot, but car makers, like Tesla, are making cars that come equipped with autopilot features that allow the car to do all of the driving for you.

Being that many people believe that the technology for self-driving cars is obviously here, why is it that we are not seeing more self-driving cars on the road today? There are many auto manufacturers that have a full line of self-driving cars thought up, but the cars are not quite ready for the road just yet.

Other people think that we still have quite a ways to go before we start seeing cars driving themselves on the road. So, when can we expect to see more self-driving cars? Here is what we know.

Are we there yet?

While the technology to create self-driving cars is close to being ready, it is not quite there just yet. Elon Musk had stated earlier this year that he plans on having a full fleet of “Robo-taxis” by the end of 2020. Although that claim has gotten many people excited with anticipation for the near future, other automakers think that it will be much longer than a year or so before we are able to completely eliminate the driver from the car.

Around 10 years ago, Ford had the same dream that Elon Musk had and thought that by this year, it would have been rolling out a complete line of fully autonomous cars.

However, Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, has since said that Ford had originally “overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles.”

What is causing the delay of self-driving cars?

One of the biggest challenges to overcome is trying to develop a system that is capable of predicting what others on the road will do. According to the New York Times, unpredictable human behavior is one of the biggest hurdles that automakers are having to deal with.

Bryan Salesky, who is the chief executive at a technology company called Argo AI told the New York Times that “You see all kinds of crazy things on the road, and it turns out they’re not all that infrequent, but you have to be able to handle all of them. With radar and high-resolution cameras and all of the computing power that we have, we can identify and detect objects on the street. The hard part is anticipating what they are going to do next.”

Salesky admitted that they have roughly 80% of the technology that is needed to create a fully automated self-driving car, but they are still working on the other 20% of the technology that is needed to be able to predict human behavior.

When will the technology be ready to have more self-driving cars on the road?

As of today, there have reportedly been four different fatalities that have been caused by self-driving cars. Until the technology is developed enough to ensure that driverless cars will not cause any deaths, the self-driving car will remain nothing more than a dream.

However, many other car manufacturers, like Ford and Volkswagen – who have decided to team up with Argo AI in order to try and develop the technology sooner – have promised that we will eventually get to see a car that is able to be fully functional on its own, but for now, the companies are not wanting to say exactly when that will be. 

Considering how far that self-driving capabilities have already come on just a few short years, we wouldn’t be surprised if we were seeing more self-driving cars on the road sometime in the near future.