Everyone has heard about self-driving cars by now. The idea has started to spread around the internet. What’s more, some states are even testing self-driving cars. States such as California and Arizona are proving grounds for these new, revolutionary vehicles.
But the question on everyone’s mind is how long before these cars become commonplace? This is a difficult question to answer because the answer depends on a variety of factors.
Defining The Term Self-Driving
People think a lot of different things when they hear about these cars that drive themselves. Which means that before a conversation can happen, people have to define their terms.
When they say “self-driving,” do they mean “fully autonomous”? Do they mean “capable of driving itself if switched on”? There are a variety of ways a car can be self-driving, and some are more likely than others. As just one example, Toyota defines it as “able to get on and off highways and change lanes without input from the driver.” This says nothing about residential roads, however.
Self-driving cars could be on the road across the country in as little as a year if you listen to Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO. But “on the road” and “commonplace” isn’t the same thing.
A revolution that isn’t available to everyone isn’t very revolutionary. At the same time, as these cars develop it may become cheaper to use these as a form of public transit. Without the need for drivers, the city could put a larger number of buses on the road. That means more places that can be bused to, which means more people who are given the freedom of mobility.
Most likely, it will happen in tiny increments. It’s hard to say how long it will take, but one thing is sure. It is coming, and it’s not far off. It could be within the next year, or it could take another thirty, but even if it takes thirty years, there will still be cars that inch ever closer to that singularity.
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