You may not be aware of this but just this month President Obama signed a $305 billion transportation bill that contains grant money for research and development of self driving vehicles. With a stroke of a pen, the United States federal government became the largest investor in a discipline of mechanical science that has the potential to permanently transform the transportation landscape as we have known it for the last century.
Self-driving technology is not a new concept. Companies like Google and Tesla have spent countless hours and dollars in researching and developing robotic counterparts to human drivers. Many automakers have incorporated a simplified version of this technology into a growing number of modern safety features like self-braking, self-corrective steering, and even self-parking features. As helpful and even life saving as these safety features may be, a car that can stop itself when it senses a potential accident is a far cry from a car that safely take you from point “A” to point “B” completely autonomously.
You may read this and wonder why the push for self-driving automobile technology. Well the answer to that question can be summed up into one word: safety. With an estimated 32,000 lives claimed by traffic accidents across our nation every year, the demand for creating safer vehicles has become a predominant one in the automotive industry and one that automakers, state governments, and now the federal government have/has made a priority.
While modern safety features in today’s vehicles have provided an entire generation of drivers and passengers unprecedented safety, automakers are constantly in search for the next innovation that will provide their customers with the safest product on the market. Those in favor of autonomous automobiles can easily make the case for this fledgling robotic technology. This is especially true when you factor in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics that found over 90% of the reported automobile accidents in the nation involved human error.
Of course the idea of relinquishing the wheel to a robot is not an universally attractive prospect. Despite the overwhelming statistical data, many people prefer to remain in control of their vehicles. As understandable as that concept is to relate to, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the improvements in traffic flow (as well as safety) with computerized navigation at the helm.
Regardless of individual feelings on the matter, you can expect advancements in self-driving vehicles to become a reality in the not-to-distant future. As always, Ron Carter Cadillac will be here to keep you informed of this and any other news that may impact the most important commodity we have; our customers.