Driverless cars are one of the modern day technological advancements for this decade. Many major companies are betting on the self driving cars. This is a good move. After all, the sole purpose of advanced computational capabilities is to improve the way of life by simplyfying things around us.
Rather than having an one to one mapping between a driver and car, leading taxi companies like Uber and Lyft might deploy only one person per 5 or more cars. And that is to monitor the cars from a remote monitoring location in real-time.
Major taxi operating companies will be more interested in driverless cars for the benefits as described below –
Higher customer satisfaction – Higher degree of customer experience and satisfaction can be achieved by providing all customers the same experience. Since everything is automated there won’t be any delay in arriving or reaching a destination. Also provides more privacy and the car itself can be a mini leisure room. There can be video playing without a need to worry about whether the driver is getting distracted or not.
More security and safety to the passengers – Driverless car experience leads to more safety of the passengers. At times background verification of the drivers are not so accurate and reliable. This can lead to the unwanted behavior of the taxi driver with the passengers. This can be completely avoided. There is no reason to worry whether the driver is driving under influence or not.
Less operational cost – Low operation cost means 2 things –
- Higher profit to companies that operate the cab
- Less affordable cost for the taxi users
Factors helping to reduce operational cost –
- Lower insurance
- Less accidents
- Less driver errors
- Higher mileage
- Fuel savings
Better vehicle maintenance and efficiency – With the improved telematics in car, the data generated can help in improving the vehicles maintenance window. Also, the speed limits can be increased on roads if self driving cars are self aware and context aware of things around it. This will highly help in increasing the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. Also a better traffic coordination will result in less tailbacks in busy time. Sensory and image recognition technologies could detect obstacle from far even when the size is smaller. This could result in less accidents.
While we talk about companies looking for opportunities in driverless cars, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have come up with 5 different levels in autonomous driving to understand better.
Level 0 – No automation. Completely basic. 100% controlled by human operations.
Level 1 – Still managed by human operations. Some independent automatic controls. Ex – Cruise control, Automatic braking.
Level 2 – More than 2 controls can be automated at the same time. Ex – Cruise control and Lane keeping at the same time.
Level 3 – Fully autonomous but controls can be ceded by human interventions. Still needs human monitoring.
Level 4 – “Completely Autonomous” – No human interventions needed. Driver is not a part of driving process at all.
Driverless car gives us more opportunity to do other works while travelling. Google estimates that on an average a US car user spends 1 hour a day for commutation. This time can be used more to read books, finish office tasks, sleep, etc.