Why Autonomous Cars Are Not Truly Autonomous Yet

A lot of large companies like Apple and Google are making large strides in creating autonomous cars, but we have a long way to go. 
 
Autonomous vehicles have been making headlines in the past few years, but the thing is, they aren’t really all that autonomous at this point in time. Big companies such as Apple, Uber, and Google have all been making strides to create autonomous vehicles, also known as self driving cars. However, if you read further into it you see we are not quite there yet. 
 
One example of this is the recent test they did in Pennsylvania where Uber piloted their first self driving fleet. When the car showed up to pick people up it was not an empty car driving itself. Instead, it had 2 people in the car. One person was in the driver’s seat in case they needed to take over at any point and the other person was in the passenger seat taking notes and analyzing the trip. 
 
I do believe that sometime in the future there will be fully autonomous cars, but at this point in time we have a lot to overcome before that happens. First, we need to get to a point where we don’t need 2 extra people in the cars to analyze and ensure it does what it is supposed to. Next, there is the issue of the cars not being able to go everywhere. Right now in order for a self driving car to pick you up, you would need to be in a big city where all of the roads are completely mapped out. 
 
There are also a lot of government regulations and autonomous decision making that would have to be dealt with. For example, the cars are programmed to protect the driver from harm, however what if in order to do that it had to run over 5 other people? 
 
One final thing to think about is whether or not people would actually get into a self driving car. At this point in time I think a lot of people would not get in. I think we will get to a point where all of these issues are solved within 10 years or so. But until then, they are not truly 100% autonomous. 
 
What about you? Would you feel comfortable getting into a self driving car today? How about 10 years in the future? Use #AskTheFuturist on Twitter to share your thoughts. You can also use the hashtag to ask me a question for a future episode.

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Jacob Morgan is a speaker, author and cofounder of The Future of Work Community. Subscribe to his newsletter or visit TheFutureOrganization.

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