The driverless car revolution is revving up, with 10 million driverless cars forecasted to be on the road by 2020.
According to a report by The Commonwealth Bank’s technology innovation executive manager, Dilan Rajasingham driverless cars “impact on our society and economy is likely to be far-reaching, radically transforming the way the global community uses and manages energy resources, cares for the health of our citizens and manages its entire transport system.”
The reports said the technology required is already present in most new vehicles. However, the revolution would be powered by the emerging Internet of Things, a market that’s forecasted to explode in near future.
“Automated vehicles could make transport faster, easier and safer,” said the report. Suggesting driverless vehicles have the potential to reduce the $16.5B that congestion costs the Australian Economy each year. There is also possibility driverless cars can lessen the 53 minutes a day the average Australian spends commuting, the report said.
Automated cars also present new challenges and risks, according to the report; “While driverless cars have enormous potential to improve our quality of life, they also raise critical questions about how we create a digitally managed ecosystem that is robust, highly functional and exceptionally secure.”
Network security will be a major focus to minimise any misuse of the new tech, with the report identifying hacking and cyber terrorism as a significant concern. A recent incident, where a Jeep was remotely accessed and its breaks disabled, causing it to crash into a ditch, shows why people are hesitant to hand over the controls.
When businesses are ready to take the plunge, high up front costs will be another barrier. According to the Comm Bank report, businesses will; “Seek to spread the upfront costs of investing in driverless technology over its useful life.”
“Businesses will need to carefully weigh the long term benefits against the upfront costs – and keep a close eye on competitors to ensure they won’t be left behind,” the report said.
According to the report, Google’s driverless cars drove three million kilometers in 2014 and; “Until this year, Google’s cars had only been involved in 17 minor crashes over six years — and none where they were at fault.”
So what happened in 2016 to tarnish the perfect record? A minor incident with a bus that caused “Google to refine and update its test scenarios software,” the report said.
That may be the greatest appeal of a driverless car network; a system that continuously improves and becomes more efficient, reducing costs across the board. An extra twenty minutes sleep in each morning might be a close second.