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What You Should Know About Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous cars will hit our streets, but just when that will happen depends on whom you ask. Some experts claim they are only a handful of years away, while others still speculate it will take decades to integrate this technology into our everyday lives.

And if you haven’t been following along, it can be an overwhelming topic to dig into. So, we at the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association have put together the Cliff Notes version of the race to autonomous cars featuring must-read stories, as it has huge implications for our industry.

What exactly counts as an autonomous car?

Many vehicles on the road now have special controls or functions to assist drivers, but that doesn’t make them autonomous. In this graphic by Wired magazine, autonomous vehicles are broken down into six categories based on different degrees of automation. It’s towards the bottom of the page – please keep scrolling. This guide is just the start of understanding autonomous vehicles.

Story: A Brief History of Autonomous VehicleTechnology

Who wants in?

Everybody wants in. By one count, 263 companies are vying to cash in on the autonomous vehicle revolution. The transportation industry is reforming and reinventing itself through mergers, acquisitions and collaborations to accommodate the continuing changes and demands associated with driverless cars.

Story: Mapped:The Top 263 Companies Racing Toward Autonomous Cars

Here’s an obvious question – isn’t it dangerous?

Cybersecurity is a concern for autonomous vehicles. Maliciously interfering with a car could have serious implications for safety. To address cyber risks, high standards of system resilience, such as robust data encryption, will need to be engineered.

As cars become more connected, it could be possible for hackers to access personal data, such as typical journeys or where a person is at a particular time, which could, for example, allow a burglar to know when a person is not at home.

However, not all concerns are negative. Last year, there were nearly 40,000 deaths in the United States from auto-related accidents, the deadliest for automotive-related deaths since 2008 and the largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years. One of the key causes of the increase was deaths attributed to distracted driving incidents, mainly texting while driving. Widespread usage of autonomous vehicles will save lives.

Story: Distracteddriving deaths are trending, and not in a good way

How is the government responding?

The US Department of Transportation has designated 10 sites in nine states to serve as proving grounds for self-driving cars. In the next few years, the government will have other issues to address when it comes to driverless vehicles, often developing policy as the technology itself develops.

Story: These nine states will serve as testing grounds for self-driving cars

Story: Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government

We’ll surely be keeping up with this technology at TLPA – it’s the story to watch.

Posted 5/26/2017 12:51:19 PM