Autonomous Vehicles – The Mega Trend

14 February 2018

Autonomous driving seems to be the trend of the century and will definitely change our lives sooner rather than later. If we have a look current mega-trends in the automotive industry autonomous driving, connectivity, integrated mobility and electrical vehicles, it becomes quite clear that the first three have a direct connection. You can have one with the other and the enabler of these technologies is the intelligence mobility.

Autonomous driving, Level 4 and 5 will come. There are still some technical challenges to overcome as sensor data fusion, quality of sensors, the right sensor mix, new EE architecture as well as the presentation of all information to the driver. These are only a few of the challenges that the engineering teams would have, however taking the driver out of the steering wheel would be the major challenge to overcome. For example according to some studies, at level 4, the driver would have to take over full control of the vehicle in approximate 10 sec something that is not currently feasible or possible.

Some of these challenges naturally come with many questions attached as they would naturally mean that a change would also need to come in society, legislation and integration of these vehicles within our daily lives and processes..

Will the autonomous drivers need a special license to operate level 4 and 5 cars and also, would the interaction of self-driving vehicles with the driver be similar to the aerospace industry?

Let’s take a closer look at the Aerospace industry for a second.

An aeroplane can fly and land fully automated. However, the pilots need to be in the position to take over full control at any given point. They have a regulator body that controls the safety of the planes, rules and standards and forces pilots to renew their licenses regularly and be aware of all changes that any new plane may have. UX and UI are constantly updated to give the pilot advice and allow him to react with precision and take control of the plane when it’s required.

The environment in our roads is much more complicated as they are less controlled and regulated, which would subsequently create a combination of autonomous and non-autonomous vehicles and the situational behaviour of the drivers may not be fully developed to “cope” with that as such. So..perhaps a Special license is the way to go..

At the same time this reflection makes it quite clear that we should not omit also focusing on the biggest trend of all, which is the Intelligence part mobility.

Yes, we have a long journey to go with autonomous vehicles and yes, there are a lot of challenges that the industry need to overcome to succeed and provide a safe and resilient autonomous car, however I personally believe the biggest challenge will yet be how receptive and responsive the public are to this new technology.

It is after all all about the journey and not the destination.

Article by Michael Zimmermann

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