A few years from now, self-driving cars will be the gold standard of private transport. It may still take time before they become commercially available, but several companies are already in an arms race in developing the first batch of autonomous vehicles that will hit the road.
Currently, companies like Google and Volvo are leading the driverless pack, but other firms like Uber, Tesla, and even China’s Baidu are not far behind.
Once self-driving cars reach the dealerships in the US, it would only be a matter of time before Philippine car owners get to enjoy their sweet time in the backseat. But is the Philippines ready to see these cars in their nearest dealerships?
Features of the future
It’s only been a few years since tech and auto companies have been able to make quantum leaps in computers that can make smart decisions on the road. However, the principles of self-driving cars have already been set, according to the Yale Climate Connections, the most basic features of smart vehicles aside from the most obvious capability that is being able to move with little to no human assistance are the following:
- Lane-assist warnings to alert drivers if their vehicle inadvertently strays across a solid line on the driver’s or passenger’s side;
- Automated parallel parking;
- Automatic (autonomous) front-end braking to help reduce head-on collisions;
- Blind-spot assistance to alert drivers;
- Smart phone apps to start the ignition remotely or lock the doors from afar; and
- Vehicle location apps to alert parents if their teenage drivers go beyond a set range or above a safe speed.
More advanced features like coordinating vehicles are not far from happening as well. Furthermore, these features are also being studied by companies to be applied to more commercial vehicles like buses, trucks, or even mass transporters.
Will they work here?
Driverless cars are sure a welcome choice among local motorists, especially that Filipinos love to get their hands at new technology However, given the road conditions in the country, ever-changing routes and policies, and driving habits of Filipinos, will autonomous cars ever be fit to run on Philippine roads without self-destructing?
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