The automotive industry is in the process of being upended by the introduction of Autonomous Vehicle technologies. These are technologies that utilize the latest in laser (LIDAR), camera, and artificial intelligence systems in order to reduce a vehicle’s dependency on its driver during operation. Many car manufacturers, as well as Silicon Valley companies, have started rolling out these technologies in a piecemeal fashion, but much testing and verification is needed before fully autonomous vehicles hit the road without a driver behind the wheel.
The top priority for both the manufacturers and the government is to ensure that these vehicles are safe and effective in their operations. Given that Autonomous Vehicle technologies are still emerging and evolving, they will require significant attention to ensure these priorities are upheld. Results thus far, however, have been very promising and a future with driverless cars is quickly becoming a matter of when rather than if. Assuming their successful proliferation, one can expect massive reductions in emissions due to holistic changes from the transportation systems in place today. Efficiency could be the hallmark of these new transportation systems and all avenues will be explored to ensure that efficiency translates to cleaner air here in the Triangle region.
University of Michigans Center for Sustainable Systems offers a great resource for autonomous vehicles. Learn about the different levels of automation, current and projected market, and the impacts of these new vehicles.