The future holds glorious and wonderful inventions for us, like personal jetpacks, space tourism, and driverless cars. That last one is already forging its way into reality with systems on cars like Tesla’s autopilot mode. The mode allows you to enjoy your drive hands-free, while the numerous on-board sensors and radar work to keep you safe while obeying traffic signs and laws. If you have the money, you can totally buy one of these cars online now, but the self-driving system is still being improved upon. Tesla already has plans to make the cars self-guided in the future for a complete self-driving experience, but aside from them, what does the future of driverless cars look-like? We speculate below.
The Future Is Faster
A world with driverless cars is actually extremely efficient. Take traffic lights for example, they are meant to indicate when we can go and stop, but computers can communicate with each other much faster to account for traffic at these intersections. Cars will also likely be a part of their own “hive mind” system allowing them to communicate with each other instantly—eliminating the need for traffic lights, stop signs, and speed limits. In fact, signage will be irrelevant as the computers on board learn routes and adapt through machine learning. Cars will be able to travel as one on the road, adapting as their passengers reach their destinations. So the max speed will be pre-determined for each section of a route, the vehicle’s limitations, and law restrictions on speed—so cars will be able to go faster, much faster to reach their destinations.
Ownership of Cars Will Be Different
This whole hive-mind of cars system will likely mean it’s less important which car you get into. Each car will travel at the exact same speed as every other car to get to a destination so the only thing that will matter is how much space you’d need in a vehicle. Something that can be easily selected from a phone app for example. Think of it as a massive taxi system, but without the hassle of dealing with a taxi driver or other traffic. There’d be no reason to buy a car aside from wanting to customize it to your tastes. This would also impact other aspects like home design. Garages and driveways wouldn’t be as necessary since people typically wouldn’t own cars.
Certain Jobs Will Be Phased Out
We’re already seeing this with some jobs in sectors like mining and agriculture where vehicles don’t necessarily need a human behind the wheel. These trucks, tractors, and other vehicles often go back and forth on predictable routes with little to no traffic, perfect for a robot to accomplish instead. While some companies already have these self-driving vehicles in place, the future will have semi-trucks, buses, delivery vehicles, and more that are completely driverless. While some may see this as “robots taking our jobs” the reality is that robots are taking jobs that were causing strain on people and weren’t always safe to operate for long periods of time.
While we’re still a long ways off from completely self-driving cars, trucks, and more, it’s exciting to see how far we’ve already travelled (so to speak). Many companies are already testing their self-driving cars in certain cities and on university campuses. Tesla is still one of the most popular, but many automakers are not far behind. Who knows, there might be a driverless rideshare car coming to your city soon.