The Future of Motoring: Driverless Cars
Driverless cars are commonly featured in futuristic sci-fi films, but despite being prophesised for decades they have so far not looked close to becoming reality.
However, all of this looks set to change with eight major global motoring players all working on driverless technologies. Perhaps the most famous of these is Google's solution, which has attracted international headlines as the company has completed 140,000 miles testing the technology in California without being responsible for any accidents.
This has really helped to drum up confidence in driverless cars, with three US states (California, Nevada and Florida) deciding to pass laws to make driverless cars legal. Google aims to make the technology available to the public by 2018 at the latest.
Despite all this publicity and acclaim, Google could actually lose the race to be the first to produce a driverless car by several motoring majors. Mercedes, for instance, plans to release an S-Class later this year which will be capable of operating on the road without driver input at speeds under 25 mph.
This would certainly be a step in the right direction, helping to eradicate some of the boredom associated with driving in busy city centres.
Driverless cars are likely to have other benefits, as car insurance premiums should fall on account of their being fewer accidents. On top of this, fuel consumption might be reduced, with driverless cars likely to adhere to te best practice when it comes to car operation by avoiding heavy acceleration and braking, which has a detrimental impact on fuel consumption.
However, a lot of questions remain unanswered. Will driverless cars be universally legal? And if so, will you be allowed to use your phone, tablet or even laptop when the driverless technology is in control?
But perhaps the most important question is whether or not you would feel comfortable putting your life in the hands of a driverless vehicle?
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