5 Reasons You Won't Be Seeing Driverless Cars in 2015

limo service NYC, westchester limoAre you waiting on a robot chauffeur? Unfortunately you may be waiting for quite a bit longer. While driverless car technology is advancing, it still isn't ready for consumer vehicles--and it's definitely not coming to a ground transportation service near you for at least a few more years. Here are a few reasons why you may still be better off with a flesh-and-blood chauffeur.

1. They can't drive in snow or rain.

While driverless cars operate well in peak conditions, there's a reason they've been tested primarily throughout California. They cannot drive safely in snow or rain. This isn't just a programming issue. The technology the cars use today--a radar system--cannot see through rain and snow and will never be able to see through it. New technology would need to be developed for it to be even close to feasible.

2. Regulations are moving slowly.

Only a handful of states have allowed driverless cars even for testing, which means that production is still a far way off. Driverless cars will only be truly adoptable once the majority of states have at least allowed them for testing and after that there will need to be a significant amount of transitional time before it's proven to be usable by the public.

3. Driverless cars can't react to unpredictable people.

One of the most dangerous issues on the road is not environmental but due to other drivers. A driverless car would not be able to identify that a car next to them is driving erratically and make the choice to avoid them. Likewise, a driverless car isn't going to be able to identify an aggressive driver who may be dangerous to drive behind.

4. Driverless cars are still prohibitively expensive.

There are some cars with limited driverless features, but they tend to be luxury vehicles. We've seen that adopting new technology generally comes when the costs are reduced. Driverless cars are still extremely expensive because the technology is still new and being developed. With the average car on the road being 11 years old, few people are clamoring for a very expensive, limited vehicle option.

5. Driverless cars rely a great deal on maps.

Driverless cars do take up context cues so that they can do things such as read signs, but for the most part they use a mapping system to navigate. This makes them unsuitable to much of America because a significant amount of America is rural or not significantly mapped. In other words, it really only works in large cities.

And apart from the above, your flesh-and-blood chauffeur is simply more personable. A driverless car isn't going to be able to advise you on the best restaurants and acclimate you to a new town, after all

Posted on Jan 07 2015

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