Autonomous or self-driving cars have been in the news for several years. With the commercial deployment of 5G technology in 2020, many expect the technology to become a regular sight on roads and highways soon. However, it appears there are many obstacles to the widespread presence of driverless vehicles.
Auto sales specialists at youngautomotive.com don’t expect autonomous cars to hit the streets anytime soon. The optimism is high, but the problems are overwhelming. The ongoing pandemic, the recession in different parts of the world, and technological challenges make it improbable for driverless cars to be commercially available within 2020 or the year ahead.
The 5G connection
One of the biggest problems affecting the release of self-driving cars is the poor progress of 5G network deployment. Autonomous driving tech is closely linked to the superfast connection speeds and low latency of 5G networks. Without these speeds and significantly reduced latency, driverless driving can become less precise.
Self-driving cars rely on various sensors and the processing of data to make quick decisions on how to drive through a road with various factors taken into account. Bad data transmission and processing adversely impact the performance of autonomous driving. The consequence will not be limited to degraded precision. It can also result in accidents.
The United States still has a long way to go before it can accelerate the establishment of its 5G networks mostly because of geopolitical issues. The same goes for many other countries. For 5G to advance, it is essential for the geopolitical problems to stabilize first. Such a scenario is unlikely to happen in the short term.
Legal and ethical considerations
Autonomous vehicles have already been tested extensively. The results of the tests have been promising so far. There were accidents and glitches recorded, but they are not substantial enough to merit the rejection of the driverless car technology. Still, more tests are necessary to guarantee safety.
In addition to the need for more research and development, it is also vital to resolve legal and ethical issues. Many questions hound the deployment of self-driving vehicles. How will transportation agencies treat them? How are they classified? Are there new costs or requirements in using or operating a fleet of these AI-powered cars? How will accidents be handled?
Unfortunately, most governments have not explored these questions yet. Even the most advanced economies don’t have guidelines for the use of driverless cars. It would take several months or years for governments to become adequately prepared to embrace the technology. Laws and regulations need thorough updating. It’s not something that can be rushed considering the many legal and ethical implications.
With the COVID-19 pandemic lingering and the recessions that came in its wake, it will take several years more before driverless cars start plying the streets. Governments have their attention on more important concerns. Private businesses advocating the adoption of self-driving cars can only wait for the government and consumers to be ready to embrace the mainstream adoption of the technology.