Autonomous vehicles are on the rise. With the promise of safer roads, less traffic and increased employment rates in Southern Ontario, what’s not to be excited about? If you’re as excited as we are, you’ll want to know what’s coming right around the corner.
1. Safer Roads
With fewer quick decisions left to chance, autonomous vehicles will reduce the likelihood of a crash. A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute noted that “human-driven vehicles find themselves in 4.2 crashes per million miles, as opposed to self-driving cars that find themselves in 3.2 crashes per million miles.” (source)
GM is working on its signature model, the Cadillac Super Cruise which has many built-in safety protocols. “If the system detects the driver has turned attention away from the road ahead for too long, it will prompt the driver to return their attention to the road. If the driver does not immediately refocus on the road, Super Cruise™ will continue to safely navigate until a further escalation of alerts prompts the driver to resume supervision.”
2. Jobs for Talented Engineers
In June of 2017, GM announced that it would open a campus for the development of autonomous vehicles and innovation in Markham, stating that they chose to initiate research and development in this region “because of its clear capacity for innovation, proven talent and strong ecosystem of great universities, startups and innovative suppliers.” (source). This is a huge win not just for Markham and York Region, but for all of Canada. We have the opportunity to put ourselves on a global stage and to keep our great talent and our IP right here at home.
3. Less Traffic
Humans aren’t perfect. We’re programmed to react to red lights and quick dodges in and out of lanes. Self-driving cars however, will be programmed to proactively run simultaneously with one another. Like this video suggests, traffic lights are just a tool for drivers to communicate with one another, while autonomous vehicles will have the capacity to communicate without the aid of colour coded lights and move seamlessly throughout your commute.
4. Vehicle Shares
GM and Lyft have announced a partnership to develop a shared ride service using autonomous vehicles. Near future plans outline the potential to use an app to call for a driverless ride. Although this seems like a fantasy right out of Hot Tub Time Machine 2, GM and Lyft are pushing for rapid change, stating “We see the world of mobility changing more in the next five years than it has in the last 50.” (source) And that leads us to…
5. Mobility for Everyone
Although it’s possible to obtain a drivers license at age sixteen in Ontario, it isn’t possible for everyone to drive themselves to appointments, to work, or to the store. Autonomous vehicles will provide the opportunity for people with different abilities to succeed, and that’s something we can all be absolutely thrilled about.
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