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The Financial Times Names Five Roadblocks Holding Driverless Cars Back

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【Summary】The Financial Times believes these five areas are worth keeping an eye on between now and the next five years when autonomous vehicles are expected to come out.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 01, 2018 9:00 AM PT
The Financial Times Names Five Roadblocks Holding Driverless Cars Back
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

Every automaker make be working on autonomous cars, but there are a lot of issues holding the vehicles back from going mainstream. The Financial Times put out its list of five things that could pose as potential roadblocks to the vehicles. 

Human Drivers Are A Major Problem

The first thing that the outlet sees as a potential problem is that autonomous vehicles and human-operated cars don't share the road well. The current crop of semi-autonomous and self-driving vehicles on the road perform a little too well.  While humans have come to accept that drivers make plenty of mistakes and have learned all of the intricacies of sharing the road with other humans. 

Unfortunately, that isn't the case when it comes to driverless cars. Drivers still haven't gotten used to sharing the road with autonomous vehicles, which has resulted in numerous accidents. As the Financial Times claims, autonomous vehicles don't operate smoothly. The machines are overly cautious, jerky, and hard to read, which makes them prone to getting into accidents. 

Trust Won't Come Easy

While automakers and technology companies can work on making their autonomous vehicles operate like human drivers, one issue that they can't remedy is trust

The Financial Times points towards airplanes as examples. The majority of aircrafts are fitted with autonomous systems that do the majority of the flying. But that hasn't stopped airlines from continuing to have pilots on board. This, as the outlet claims, is done to reassure passengers. Automakers and tech companies aren't interested in having human operators in their machines, making it harder for humans to trust the vehicles. 

Regulations Continue To Hold Self-Driving Cars Back

Third, the current state of regulations for autonomous vehicles is very relaxed. While Congress still hasn't made up its mind on legalizing autonomous vehicles, individual states have made it okay for automakers and tech companies to test fully autonomous cars. A hold up at the kind of level could be a major issue for autonomous vehicles. 

Can Tech Get Good Enough Fast Enough?

Fourth on the list is the risk that driverless vehicles may not become smart enough fast enough. The United States is an expansive area with hundreds of thousands of roads. Developing systems that can map and store all of the roads is a daunting task. At the moment, as the outlet reports, the majority of driverless cars are operating in specific areas that have been well mapped and well researched. 

If automakers can't figure out a way to make autonomous cars smarter within the next few years, it could result in autonomous vehicles that aren't smart enough to drive throughout the country. 

Raising Funds Is Proving To Be Difficult

Lastly, the rise of autonomous vehicles has come about because of an abundance in funds. As the outlet put it, "An era of easy money has helped fund the great science project that is self-driving cars." With the introduction of driverless machines, the sector has become used to the funds and needs the money to continue if it wants to continue developing driverless technology. 

The issues that the Financial Times points out aren't ones that will affect autonomous cars in the near future, but will stop the machines from flourishing much later down the road. Luckily, automakers and tech companies still have a few years before the autonomous car onslaught begins. 

via: The Financial Times

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