Mobility of the Future

Future Trend or Science Fiction?

A view into the future has always inspired people’s fantasy ever since the automotive vehicle has been invented. This is reflected by a series of futuristic cars in famous films like Herbie in The Love Bug, K.I.T.T. in Knight Rider, the DeLorean in Back to the Future or Transformers in the film of the same name.
Let’s venture a look into the near future now and try to find out, which developments will probably be realized shortly and which will still be science fiction.

Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Driving

Artificial intelligence stands for software that attempts to simulate human decisions. In other words: decisions for which humans use their intellect should also be able to be made by a computer. This is why it is particularly popular in the automotive industry: voice control, navigation systems or traffic sign recognition – these are systems that already work with artificial intelligence. But things get particularly exciting when it comes to autonomous driving.

However, the self-propelled car is still a dream of the future. On one hand, technology is not yet ready, on the other hand, surveys show that most drivers are afraid of giving up control over the steering wheel. The fear of hackers is a further serious issue. Artificially intelligent systems and digital assistants are more likely to be welcome as a support in traffic jams or when parking.

We can distinguish five levels of automated driving

Assisted driving

Systems such as cruise control or a lane departure warning system only support independent driving.

Semi-automated driving

The car performs some tasks independently. For example, braking, accelerating, and keeping in lane or automatic parking.

Highly automated driving

The car drives independently. The system informs the driver if intervention is required. The tasks that the car carries out itself usually have a time limit.

Fully automated driving

Drivers completely release the steering on certain routes – the car could then even be driven without passengers. The legal framework however, has not yet been finally clarified

Autonomous driving

Passengers no longer have to do anything, the vehicle can cope with the entire traffic including complex situations, and in the event of infringements passengers will no longer be liable.

Advantages of autonomous driving

  • Automated vehicles offer the opportunity to better integrate older and less mobile people into society. This makes sense above all because our society is getting older and older. For all those who are no longer safe behind the wheel in old age, the self-propelled car is the perfect alternative.
  • Moreover, time spent in self-propelled vehicles could be used to relax or be productive. This would mean: more time, energy and comfort.
  • Ideally, autonomous driving will allow smoother traffic. This is not only less stressful but also more environmentally friendly.
  • Best of all: the more automated the driving, the lower the accident figures. Unfortunately, human error is the cause of most accidents. The prerequisite for this is, of course, top systems that can assess traffic situations without any errors.

Since 2017 an Ethics Committee has been dealing with these issues and developing ethical guidelines. Most studies assume that fully autonomous passenger cars will be available from 2040 at the earliest.
In the meantime, maybe, we might ask ourselves to the following questions:
Why should you get stuck in a traffic jam in an autonomous car? Wouldn’t it be much smarter just to fly over the traffic jam in a drone?

Drones herald the new era of mobility – does this mean the automobile will come to an end?

Foto © AA+W