Well 2015 is here, but that whole flying DeLorean thing hasn’t quite worked out as predicted, but there are some very exciting things happening in the automotive world that quite futuristic. German automaker Audi just unveiled the autonomous A7 concept car that drove itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas to appear at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.
The idea of a self-driving car is interesting to say the least, but still faces an uphill battle to convince consumers that the new technology is safe enough for widespread use. To be fair, the technology is still under development and testing, so no efforts are yet underway to mass market an autonomous car. Demonstrations such as this may go a long way towards convincing consumers to give it a chance.
The new technology, once fully operational and on the market, promises to increase safety by eliminating problems such as driver fatigue, inattentive driving, and perhaps even DUIs. Questions remain however, about just how autonomous the cars can be, and what rules will govern their use.
For instance, will it be legal for someone who has had a few too many drinks be legally allowed to ride home from the bar in a driverless car? Will it be safe and/or legal for a person to catch up on their sleep while the autonomous car operates on the roadway?
One benefit of the new technology that I haven’t heard discussed is the fact that an autonomous car could eliminate the need for expensive modifications necessary to accommodate drivers with physical disabilities, something that could be a major benefit to some of our wounded veterans. Additionally, those with visual impairments could become much more mobile with a vehicle that doesn’t depend on human sight to operate safely.
I think most of us are still disappointed that we don’t have hoverboards and flying DeLorean time machines, but the future of transportation does look bright.