When we turn our keys and controls over to our cars and have to trust them to get us from one place to another safely the initial change will be extremely strange. If every car on the road were driven autonomously and used the same network to communicate, they could do so seamlessly and could follow along with each other as extremely close intervals. Unfortunately, the reality is we will continue to have human drivers behind the wheel of our vehicles for several years before self-driving technology takes over the roads.
Who would have thought when radio waves and signals began transmitting through the airwaves that at some point we would have an airspace that was completely congested, but that seems to be where we are. Not only are the airwaves becoming more congested with signals for radio, television and cell phones, but for the past sixteen years there has been a part of the airspace that has been reserved for the automotive industry. This space hasn’t been significantly used since it was on reserve at the beginning of the decade, but it seems the auto industry is on the verge of finally putting it to use.
If you want a car that can read the hand signals when driving you might find yourself and your vehicle offended. The last time I checked there was typically only one hand signal used on the roads from driver to driver and it’s not a pleasant one at all. When it comes to the ability to understand hand signals the ones that matter on the road are those which are used by cyclists as they ride their bikes around. While I’m not exactly sure how many cyclists use hand signals anymore, these are important indicators of the intentions of the cyclist that should be understood by cars before we have fully autonomous vehicles.
It’s coming and if you listen to Elon Musk of Tesla Motors it will be here much sooner than most think. His prediction is that you will be able to summon your car to your location in no more than three years’ time. This bold announcement has already garnered some push back from others in the automotive world with Carlos Ghosn of Nissan stating the first self-driving Nissan will be on the road in 2020 and the Audi USA president Scott Koegh adding he feels we won’t see fully autonomous driving vehicles for at least a decade.