Self driving Cars | Future or Gimmick?

The future of self-driving cars is very bright, with predictions that nearly 10 million driverless cars will be on the road by 2020. The growth potential of this new technology, via the adaption of this technology by organizations and companies that have a need for self-driving cars, is beyond question. Studies have shown that the potential numbers of lives that will be saved due to the prevention of human error accidents will increase dramatically. This is one of the major factors driving the success of these cars to date and it previews the corporate impact that this technology will have in the commercial marketplace.

Self-driving autonomous cars provide the ability to change and improve the way public and private transportation is managed and the options that people have within cities. Self-driving cars are created with an artificial intelligence that does not get distracted, fall asleep while driving, or make minor mistakes that cause collisions with other cars, pedestrians or objects like humans can. Human error is virtually eliminated in the use of a driverless car. The passenger no longer has to be concerned with traffic patterns and routes, construction obstacles, speed limits, weather, or quick maneuvering to avoid an accident. In a recent CNN interview in 2015 with the current CEO of the Autonomous Cars project for Google, John Krafcik stated that “Self-driving cars could save thousand of lives, give people greater mobility, and free us from things we find frustrating about driving today.”

Google X, their exclusive research incubator for its self-driving cars, has partnered with Ford and other automobile manufacturers in a joint venture that could usher in the technology of self-driving vehicles for hire in addition to providing the cars to the general public. It is hoped that the self-driving cars in and of themselves and the implementation of this technology in the commercial sector will allow Google and car manufacturers to compete with companies such as Uber and regular taxi services located throughout the country.

In addition, self-driving cars are expected to do well in fulfilling the needs of all employers to transport their own employees, whether it is moving people from meeting to meeting, moving goods across town, or sending groups of workers out to various job sites. This could make a huge financial and strategic impact on corporations that is favorable to companies, such as Google, that pay to transport their employees.

Having autonomous cars available for company managers is paramount.  No long will they have to arrange for and coordinate rides for groups of employees. This will save the company an enormous amount of managerial time and the related expenses associated with moving employees. (Personally, I feel that one of my biggest frustrations within my current organizations) It is very difficult to find the time to look for outside transportation and to plan the pick up and drop off schedules for employees needing transportation. In my current organization it is often necessary to transport a team of workers from job to job several times per day. With the emerging technology of self-driving cars it will no longer be necessary to pay Uber drivers or traditional taxi drivers to transport our employees. I would also no longer have the cost of maintaining any corporate vehicles!

Google has successfully implemented this new technology in the cities of Mountain View, California, Kirkland, Washington and Austin, Texas. In 2009 Google first began testing its self-driving car technology in California. Later in 2014 they started testing the cars on public roads. By July 2015 their cars were in being tested in the city of Austin, Texas and Kirkland, Washington. The main focus of these tests are to collect data regarding weather and traffic patterns, road conditions, and the differences that the separate communities may have in their driving techniques.

Google now expects to expand into four additional cities within the next year, although Google and car manufacturers have not announced which cities have made the cut. They are striving to have these cars ready for use in several sectors by 2020.

This coming year holds great promise for the expanding use of autonomous cars with the expansion into these cities and the continued testing of the cars. New style designs such as the Lexus SUV model are currently on the road for tests, while Google studies how people interact and use the new technology. According to the January 2016 report on the Google car website, there are a total of 55 cars on the streets at this very moment.

As the technology expands and improves, individuals can look forward to improved safety on the roads and corporations can project major cost savings in the form of cheaper insurance and less management and labor costs.  Stay Tuned to more updates!

See more in the links provided below

For those who still believe that Self Driving Cars are a Gimmick check out the following links :
G. (2015). Google Self Driving Car Project.
Retrieved January 30, 2016, from https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/where/

Gitlin, J. M. (2016, January 11). Ars talks self driving car technology with Ford at CES.
Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://arstechnica.com/cars/2016/01/arstalksselfdrivingtechnologywithfordatces/

Korosec, K. (2016, January 05). Ford Hits the Gas On Self Driving Cars.
Retrieved January 27, 2016, from http://fortune.com/2016/01/05/fordselfdrivingcarfleet/

Krafcik, J. (2015, September 14). Google hires a car guy.
Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/14/technology/googleselfdrivingcar/

Shepardson, D. (2015, December 22). Google, Ford in talks on self driving car.
Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://www.reuters.com/article/usalphabetautosautonomousidUSKBN0U600U20151223

Oremus, Will ((2015, January 14) Google Is In Talks With Big Automakers to Build Self-Driving Cars
Retrieved February 22, 2016 from
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/01/14/google_self_driving_cars_may_be_built_by_gm_ford_toyota_or_mercedes.html

Mearian, Lucas, (2015, December 22) Google and Ford To Build Self Driving Car Company
Retrieved February 25, 2016 from
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3017796/car-tech/google-and-ford-to-build-self-driving-car-company-report-claims.html

Google Self Driving Car Project (Website)
Retrieved February 25, 2016 from https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

Greenbough, John (2016, July 29) 10 Million Self-Driving Cars Will Be On the Roads by 2020
Retrieved February 23, 2016 from
http://www.businessinsider.com/report-10-million-self-driving-cars-will-be-on-the-road-by-2020-2015-5-6

(2016, February 22) What’s Next for Self-Driving Cars?
Retrieved February 24, 2016 from http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/02/22/467724324/whats-next-for-self-driving-cars

(2016, January 29) Google Preparing to Expand Self Driving Car into Four Cities
Retrieved February 25, 2016 from
Google Preparing to Expand Self-Driving Car Program to Four More Cities

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