Love it or hate it, the autonomous cars are coming. While there is a whole community of passionate petrolheads all over, cars still are nothing more than a tool for a large number of people and these people will obviously love the change. These cars will change urban mobility as well as long distance travel. This will have a huge impact on the way we travel and it will go way beyond the automobile industry.
(Image: Shelley by Cblue98/ CC BY-SA 2.0)
In an interview with a magazine, an Audi strategist recently suggested that when the autonomous cars go mainstream, we will see a significant drop in use of hotels and domestic flights. Business travellers, who would otherwise book a hotel or early morning flight, will let the car drive them to their destination while they relax. Volvo recently showcased an example of what such a car cabin might look like.
Now we have learned about another development in this space. The Washington Post reported about a new patent Google has applied for. This patent details how the self-driving vehicle would deal with pedestrians. When we drive, eye contact and hand signals play a large role in communicating with the pedestrians but that can’t be the case with autonomous vehicles. That is why Google plans on mounting displays around the vehicle to communicate messages to the pedestrians. This is to make it less defensive to the outside elements.
Not only that, but the patent also includes possibilities of other options like a speaker on the outside that would play alerts out loud. Another interesting possibility is a robotic arm that can communicate through gestures. Details on how it will look aren’t available as the patent doesn’t reveal information about it but we are eager to have a look.
Google and other manufacturers working on autonomous cars are taking every step required to ensure they are as safe as possible. Governments are still trying to work with the regulations and the manufacturers know that any mishaps can result in major setbacks to the project. Google recently released the monthly report which shows some good signs. You can read more about it here.