Autonomous cars turn automobile companies into mobility companies
Auto industry across the world has changed a lot in the last five years. If you carefully observe it, there is a significant shift in the business, from machinery, to design or the technological level.
And in this change, there is a significant role of autonomous cars.
Industry observers are seeing how in the last few months everyone is making their moves.
And as industry players, Google and Tesla have contributed enormously in this change as the self-driving cars were developed by these two companies first.
Automobile company, Ford, has made some announcements recently about accelerating on-road testing of sensors and software.
On the other hand, General Motors has recently bought a San Francisco-based developer, Cruise Automation, for autonomous vehicle technology.
Google, Tesla, Ford, General Motors are all in the race of autonomous cars
For a long time, industry players not knowing of how they can work with each other have been circling each other.
Amid this, new players like Apple and Uber are also entering in the market.
Apple and Uber are also entering the market of autonomous cars
Some other companies like Zoox are building their own cars from the scratch.
Many of the big automakers are using autonomous technology as mainly an aid to driving right now—like a fancier cruise control—while other companies like Google are focused on building fully self-driving cars.
This has shifted the focus of automobile companies from becoming automobile manufacturer to mobility companies.
There are five levels of autonomous car tech; level zero is no autonomous tech, and four is enabled for full autonomy ….five is a human can’t even take over for driving.
The autonomous level 3—in which the car switches between full autonomy and full human control—could be particularly hard to navigate and will require extensive user experience design and engineering.
Google decided to completely skip this level and focus on self-driving cars because the hand-off in level 3 appeared to be so difficult.
Tesla has aggressively rolled out its autonomous software while it’s still in “beta” mode, and has enabled its customers to change lanes, summon their cars, and steer their cars, while relying on the car’s computer.
At the time, it is also important to ensure the safety of passengers sitting in these cars. A recent fatal accident of the Tesla Model S has raised concerns if the autopilot software of the vehicle performed as expected, or if it played a role in the accident.
Tesla has about 100,000 of its cars out there driving on roads, and about 70,000 so far are capable of using autopilot.
The company has a goal to make 500,000 of its cars a year by 2018, and all of those will likely have autopilot enabled.
In the wake of the crash and reports of other crashes using Tesla’s autopilot, some critics have called for certain aspects of the autopilot software to be disabled and for the company to rethink the autopilot name with the contention that it gives drivers a false sense of security.
Automated cars is the future
Despite that it doesn’t seem to bring down the enthusiasm of the manufacturers, and it is expected that in the near future, more fully automated will rally the market.