For a while and in class, there have been talks of autonomous cars such as Google’s, Mercedes’, and Tesla’s to name a few. Needless to say, the introduction and implementation of this technology into society would be revolutionary. We would no longer need a driver in our car, ride with a stranger, or potentially even have someone with a license in the car.
While the positive implications are endless, there are definitely several drawbacks that I can see. First, accidents involving self-driving cars would be a nightmare since ‘the driver’ is nonexistent. In addition, car insurance would be almost useless once everyone has an autonomous car. Furthermore, the social aspect of meeting a driver and carpooling would be diminished significantly. While the race to perfect and bring self-driving cars goes on between automobile behemoths such as Tesla, BMW, Mercedes, and even Uber, I read about a 26 year old hacker who has just raised $3Million towards his startup, comma.ai, which aims to bring a ‘kit’ to consumers which would include the computer vision software and the cameras for less than $1000 before the end of 2016. According to the founder, George Hotz, the kit will be relatively easy to install, on par with Ikea furniture.
The introduction of DIY (Do it Yourself) kits for self-driving cars could be a game changer since they will be much more affordable. While they might not be as reliable as fully-autonomous vehicles that giant car makers come out with, I think that they will offer a considerable alternative for a cheaper cost, granted the kit only makes your car semi-autonomous for now. Regardless, I think it will be extremely interesting to keep an eye on the autonomous driving industry as well as the variety of players who are eyeing the potentially extremely profitable industry.