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Top 5 Myths Surrounding Driverless Cars

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【Summary】Contrary to popular belief, the proliferation of self-driving cars relies on numerous factors that don’t involve road testing or data crunching.

Michael Cheng    Mar 07, 2017 8:30 AM PT
Top 5 Myths Surrounding Driverless Cars

Think you know everything about self-driving cars? Today we'll cover five questionable myths currently affecting the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles.

1. Driverless Platforms Will First Be Deployed to Mainstream Consumers

Autonomous vehicular technology is applicable to several industries, from last-mile delivery services to mobility platforms for senior citizens. Because of this, prioritized sectors, like commercial trucking, are in a position to benefit from the deployment of self-driving platforms before consumer markets – with the exception of Tesla's Autopilot, which should be capable of SAE-L5 autonomous driving by late 2017.   

2. Millions of Logged Miles is a Strong Indicator of Reliability

While it's true that experience, in the form of logged miles, is a must for self-driving platforms to mature and understand their environment, the type of miles matters more than the actual amount registered by developers. Miles driven in rough environments, such as slippery roads and icy conditions (also known as "hard miles"), challenge autonomous vehicles more than testing in a closed stimulation.

"Aggressive maneuvers with a degree of risk—such as making a left turn into a stream of oncoming traffic—are also difficult, but not impossible, scenarios for autonomous cars to navigate," said Rudy Ramos, Project Manager of Technical Content Marketing Team, at Mouser Electronics.

3. Overcoming Road Conditions is the Biggest Challenge for Autonomous Cars

Contrary to popular belief, the proliferation of self-driving cars relies on numerous factors that don't involve road testing or data crunching. One of the most daunting challenges for automakers at this stage of development is legislation. Simply put, there is a huge gap in laws that support the testing and deployment of autonomous vessels. Developers are only limited to a handful of testing sites that fail to mimic the wide range of conditions that the cars will face in the future.

4. Ethics Surrounding Car Accidents Involving Self-driving Vehicles is Critical

In 2016, researchers raised a controversial concern about the ethics of self-driving cars choosing to save a group of pedestrians crossing the street or passengers inside the vehicle in the event of a fatal collision. Since then, people began focusing on this dilemma, which isn't really a crippling issue that demands a lot of attention. This is because autonomous cars are designed to prevent getting into such situations in the first place. In such cases, the vehicle would have been able to detect the problem way before it reaches the point of no return.

5. Cars Will Be Making Safety Decisions on the Road by Themselves

The thought of a car driving through extreme, winding roads while relying solely on a set of sensors and cameras mounted on the vehicle is unsettling. But luckily, self-driving cars won't be left to make life-changing decisions on their own. V2I and V2V networks will assist the vessels in making critical choices behind the wheel. These protocols serve as "eyes in the sky" for driverless cars, allowing them to get a bird's eye view of their surroundings.

"In development for years, the technology has already been standardized across the world. In the U.S., it is known as DSRC-WAVE, and in Europe, it is part of the ITS-G5 standard," explained Ramos.

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