COMPAREX

Autonomous Driving
The Future of Driving

Autonomous Driving: What Will Vehicles Look Like in Future?

  • Henning Uhle
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Autonomous Driving, Smart Cities

Some blue-skies thinking: What will vehicles look like in future? What does autonomous driving mean? What will our cities look like soon, once they’ve become smart? I get a warm glow in my tummy when I travel through my home city of Leipzig and wonder what the future might bring. Of course I don’t know if I will live to see it. But autonomous driving could well be the solution to terminal congestion on our roads. Thoughts by COMPAREX System Engineer Henning Uhle.

The situation in other cities is bound to be the same as in Leipzig: Endless hunks of metal stand fender-to-fender at the traffic lights during the morning rush hour, while each of these monstrously huge vehicles carries just one passenger. I’m no different. At present, owning a car is still a status symbol. But the situation would be turned on its head if autonomous driving became established. Spoiler alert: Fancy wheels would be everything, but no longer a symbol of prosperity. Perhaps hardly anyone would actually own a vehicle. We would order a car at a certain time and a certain place to fulfil a certain purpose. Once it arrives, we’d take a seat in our ride and let the on-board computer deal with the rest. During the trip we would be able to read, work, place calls or anything else. And the car would travel on to the next booking at the end of the journey.

Empty roads

The colossal advantage of autonomous driving is that the number of vehicles travelling the roads would plummet. Think for a minute: Hardly any cars would need to be parked, as they would spend the whole time zipping from booking to booking. And who knows, the smart technology might even decide: “We are at point A and are moving to point B. Another customer not far from here wants to go there as well; we’ll pick them up.” And what about inspections, car wash and fueling? The latter can be struck from the list, as all of the vehicles will be electric. The batteries will be powered by sunlight and braking force or simply replaced at the numerous service points. The cars can also be serviced and cleaned at the same time. So is blue skies thinking really that bad?

Smart driving in smart cities

I have asserted for quite some time that smart cities will help to protect the environment. And that will apply all the more once smart vehicles are included in the equation. It’s all still a pipe dream, of course. It might even sound a little far-fetched. But we will never manage to evolve society if we don’t think big. And we all surely realize that society urgently needs evolution.

The bottom line is that autonomous driving must become compatible with everyday life. After all, smart cities only have space for smart driving. Otherwise nothing will change, and the endless rows of tin cans will continue to clog our roads. Which will mean that we keep treading water, having moved not a millimeter from where we are now.

Leipzig, 02 / 06 / 2019

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Comments

Hennie Erasmus 2 month ago / Reply

The only problem with Self Driving and AI is the moral dilemma of a family driven by a self driving car, and the car comes around the corner where a toddler has run into the road to get a ball, and on the other side is a woman pushing a baby in a pram. Does the self driving car kill the toddler or the woman with the baby in the pram? And until we have an algorithm to define this moral dilemma i am not sure i want a Self Driven car.

Henning Uhle 2 month ago / Reply

I do not think that the self-driving car decides between the toddler and the pram. I think the decision will be: Are the conditions normal or not? And a ball rolling across the street in the front of the car is an abnormal condition, the mother with the pram, too. And so, the car will stop to check the condition. If the state changes back to "normal", the car continues with its route.

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