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Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)

Autonomous Cars: What does the future hold?

haydn.thompson Friday July 7, 2017

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are expected to revolutionise the transport sector with an impact on safety, emissions and the efficiency of transport of persons and goods across Europe. Europe has several world leading automotive companies and some of the largest logistics companies with extensive supply chains. Car manufacturers are already announcing the first applications of autonomous vehicles and the levels of automation will increase as the regulatory environment develops.

A key argument for autonomous cars is that fatalities and injuries on Europe’s roads will be reduced and European citizens will enjoy continued mobility as they age. Most car manufacturers and technology firms are introducing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) with features such as supporting the driver to hold a safe speed in relation to the vehicle in front (adaptive cruise control), to maintain position in the lane (lane departure warning) and to park (park assist).

So what does the future hold? It is expected that commercial production of highly automated passenger vehicles will start this year with a wide range of models being on the market by 2030, some of which are likely to be self-driving. However, the introduction of autonomous vehicles will be incremental; step-by-step with increasing levels of automation. This is because the vehicle manufacturers will steadily increase the technological level of automation in their products in concordance with the adaption of the regulatory environment. But will cars be totally autonomous in the future? Interestingly, all the future market predictions at present do not see totally self-driving cars being on the road by 2030 so it seems there are still a number of barriers we need to address first before we can sit back and let our cars drive themselves.