Till now, there have been many claims that driverless cars are coming shortly. People, who love innovation and automation, are overjoyed and waiting with bated breath to read the headline
‘A certain company has launched the first-ever driverless car’
Well, it might not be impossible, but indeed, there has been some haste in the expected timeline.
Automation is not an easy process—never easier when it comes to taking full control of the roads, which are often crowded; have different real-time conditions, and are subjective to new stimuli and variables all the time. However, there have been certain advancements is automating certain processes of a vehicle, including:
Deaccelerating if coming too close to a vehicle
Automation of wiper function when it rains
And few more similar functions
Yet, there is much to achieve when it comes to steering and also taking total control away from a human driver. The conditions are always dynamic and going beyond the capacity of a human brain, which often fails while driving and makes mistakes causing accidents, is not an easy task—it could take years even before innovators reach a partial automation level, leave aside the question of full automation.
Further, these automation levels will increase the cost of vehicles and would be limited to top-class editions only because not everyone likes to pay more than he/she could afford.
Another problem is the driving habit or culture of a particular city or country. A big auto market like India will face troubles because the driving habits of users are not as refined as they are in some of the countries, and therefore, the conflict between automated cars and human-driven cars would be problematic.
What we can expect in near future is some specific roads or pathways, just like metros or special trains, where driverless cars could be experimented to run and operate. This could be limited to a particular colony, a community.
Taking driverless cars to common roads is something not possible in the near future—it will take many years of innovation, adaptation, refinement, and infrastructure building to make it a reality.