It’s a very exciting time to be in the auto industry, at Tiro we’re working with market leading companies developing self-driving car technology. But is the general public really ready to embrace this revolution in car travel?

Auto-pilot has been long used in aircraft, so why is a car without a driver such a big deal? Driverless cars offer many potential uses, personally I can’t wait to jump in a driverless car after having a few drinks with friends. Plus many of us just cannot contemplate sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle with no driver controls (no pedals or steering wheel). So why are many of us so nervous?

Let’s look at the positives:

A driverless vehicle will be revolutionary for people that can’t usually get around unaided, surely the aged and disabled should be the early adopters of self-driving cars?

Self-driving means self-parking! No more stressful experiences in the multi storey trying to find a space, your car will deal with that for you

If full autonomy freaks you out, surely you could see the benefit of using the driverless mode for long road trips in low traffic areas, with the ability for drivers to regain control of the car in busier environments?

And the stuff we are all concerned about:

SAFETY:

Of course with deaths at the hands of both Tesla and Uber we are right to be concerned! But Autonomous-driving technology has already been credited with saving lives. Major automakers have agreed to make automatic braking -- which detects when a vehicle ahead stops and automatically applies the brakes if the driver doesn't -- standard equipment on all new cars. And Volvo is promising death proof cars by 2020.

SECURITY:

Preventing car hacking and unauthorised remote control is top of my list! And not just in the driverless vehicle, cyber-security and terrorism at airports through hacking of programmable driverless systems is pretty damn frightening.

PRIVACY:

The Cambridge Analytical scandal has put this on the top of the agenda, passengers needed assurance around privacy such as location tracking.

So what does the autonomous future look like?

Fully automated planes are now in development

In the defence sector, in-airon-land and under-water robotic unmanned vehicles are being developed

Driverless trucks are commonly used in mining and other high risk environments. 

Fully automated cranes have been created for use in the construction sector.

Driverless cars are also being considered for food delivery.

My personal view is that yes, in 2018 we still have a long way to go before we can feel confident in a self-driving car, but let’s not let out nervousness’s stop innovation. As autonomous technology develops, more needs to be done to ask the public what we need to feel assured about use of driverless cars. The focus should be on what level of automation is socially acceptable in specific situations and how our views evolve - user perceptions need to be monitored and tracked through time. 

The global race to be leader in driverless car production will certainly push innovation boundaries, so let’s enjoy watching this exciting new technology evolve.