Are self-driving cars going to take over?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQ, VW Features & Technology on Friday, December 11th, 2015 at 10:22 pm
VW autonomous technology and self-driving cars

VW autonomous technology and self-driving cars

There are those who truly love cars, and then there are those who see them as a means to an end. You need to get where you’re going, and a car is the most convenient way to get there. For car enthusiasts, the idea of an autonomous vehicle could mean the end of driving as we know it, which isn’t desirable. For those who see it merely as a form of transportation, the idea of fewer driving risks, lower insurance premiums and extra time to read a book or get some work down all seem like great benefits. While there is a lot being said about the driverless vehicles, the reality is that VW autonomous technology and self-driving cars are still something to expect far into the future, though innovations do exist.

How automakers are being misleading about autonomous cars

We’ve all seen the Google cars in videos, and some people have even spotted them being tested, but the reality is they aren’t likely to make it into your garage anytime soon, if at all. Some say within five years we could see the technology, but the reality is it’s a slow going process. To put it simply, the idea of an autonomous car isn’t new. It was back in 2005 that VW worked with VW Autonomous TouaregStanford University to create an autonomous VW Touareg, but it was set to race on a specific track, which is far less complicated than the mapping required for any particular city. Two years later, VW once again partnered with Stanford to create a self-driving VW Passat SportWagen, this time for an urban setting.

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While the technology is certainly come a long way, with various systems being developed every year to improve automatic breaking, steering assistance and automatic cruise control, we aren’t nearly as close to actually getting a vehicle that doesn’t have to have any driver input. It’s one thing to test a model and it’s technology, but it’s quite another to mass produce it. Mostly, automakers make wide promises about having autonomous cars by 2020, which is being said more and more often, what is really meant is semi-autonomous. It might be (sort of) autonomous on the highway, when the roads are in ideal conditions, and you’re still required to keep an eye on the road, but it isn’t going to be a ride where you plug in a location and it operates fully on its own.

Why are driverless cars not yet ready?

There are multiple reasons we aren’t expecting cars to be completely autonomous within the next few years. We have multiple technologies that, when combined, make it reasonable. The problem is most technologies require preprogrammed tracks right now, which isn’t practical for the average person. You can only park your car if you already know where the spot is? Unless you’re terrible at parking, you may as well do it yourself.

Another main issue, and this is a biggie, are regulations. Right now automakers need permission just to test in certain states, which means we aren’t likely seeing consumers being allowed to sit back and relax either.

We could go on about how autonomous cars would be expensive or how we’re likely to see them in fleets or as taxis before being offered to the public, but mostly it’s all speculation. It seems almost certain they will be on the roads within the next 10 years, but for those that love to drive, your freedom is not at risk.

What are your thoughts on autonomous vehicles? Drop us a comment, and be sure to stop back here at the Volkswagen of Springfield Blog for more posts like this one.