With cars growing to be more and more autonomous, the once seemingly distant promise of completely driverless cars, and a suitable motoring infrastructure to facilitate their use, may be upon us sooner than we thought.
Because vehicles have become so critical to the very functioning of our society and the world's economy, not to mention our own individual lives, the cultural evolution driverless vehicles will encourage will be remarkable and far reaching.
Here are just some of the ways driverless cars will change your world:
1. Improved Safety.
Driverless cars will function based on huge amounts of data - from hugely complex navigation systems to on-board radars or sensors. They will erase the risk of human error and are not susceptible to the dangers of tiredness, distraction, frustration or inebriation.
2. Free time.
The time we are used to spending behind the wheel could be utilised for other tasks. Just think of all the time it frees up to catch up on sleep, read a book, or to complete that long-ignored life admin. It could also change the way we look at commuting - with the additional time recognised as being part of the working day.
3. Independent Living.
Driverless cars will provide transportation for anyone and everyone - irrespective of our driving qualifications or ability. This opens up a world of opportunity for those currently limited by infrequent public transport or who otherwise have trouble getting around due to illness, young/old age or disability. It will also completely change how we consider where to live - without a lengthy, tiresome commute to put us off from our otherwise dream location!
4. Expendable Income.
The arrival of driverless cars is expected to change the way we look at car ownership forever. With masses of fleets offering cost-effective, convenient transportation that can be summoned instantaneously, less of us will choose to purchase our own car. And therefore will be exempt from the costs that entails.
Although experts disagree on the time it will take to see a difference in the amount of cars on the road, they do agree that driverless cars will come to drastically reduce congestion. This is because driverless cars require much less space between them and there is the opportunity for traffic to be intricately regulated and cleverly organised. Furthermore, it is expected that a culture of car-sharing will be more vigorously accepted.
Mercedes-Benz can't yet offer you a completely driverless car, but many of our models do come with semi-autonomous capabilities. These include automatic driver assistance systems and autonomous parking.