Are Autonomous Vehicles the Future?

Driverless cars promise to make the automotive industry greener. They could effectively reshape every industry that relies on transportation. In Japan, Toyota is already making the roads greener and safer by conceptualizing cars that can run on fixed tracks that generate electricity for the vehicles to consume.

The global carbon footprint is worsening every day, which is why governments around the world are pumping more money into autonomous vehicle research. Driverless cars are expected to rule the automotive market by 2040, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and they foresee that there’s huge potential in synthesizing autonomous cars with environmental-friendly automotive technologies.

Addressing air pollution in the US

The US may be a first-world country but its air pollution is at alarming levels. CBS News states that 125 million Americans or 40% of the total population live in areas with unhealthy levels of pollution. U.S. cities that are in high risk of triggering asthma attacks in people are Woodlands in Texas and El Centro in California. points out that autonomous vehicles could reduce energy consumption in the transportation sector by as much as 90% – 200%. The numbers look great, especially since more than ¼ of greenhouse gas emissions are coming from the industry.

Autonomous cars have the potential to save a lot of energy just through driving. This is because computers are able to respond better to braking and acceleration.

The Future is Near

While autonomous cars are still a way off being a common sight on roads, important developments are being made in the US towards driverless vehicles. Currently the commercial trucking industry is making the biggest inroads into autonomous vehicles. Wired reports that since last October, autonomous trucks built by Embark have been delivering refrigerators along the I-10 freeway. While the trucks are not human free (a driver is present in the cabin), it shows that the technology is fast turning into a possibility in the future. The Wired article points out that testing the vehicles on highways are ideal as the vehicles don’t have to account for “pedestrians, cyclists, traffic lights, or other variables”.

The commercial industry has already embraced technology to reduce fuel costs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which requires all fleet businesses to use an ELD-compliant device. While the main focus of the ELD is road safety, the devices are also able to help companies and drivers save time and fuel. Fleetmatics state that ELD devices provide automatic updates on the vehicle and driver’s status. This allows fleet operators to monitor the journeys that are being taken, and respond according to save time on the road, and therefore fuel. The devices also prevent driving time errors which will also reduce fuel consumption. Until driverless cars that use green energy become available for public consumption, such moves by government agencies are critical in lessening air pollution.

Autonomous vehicles are the future, and the good news is that this future is not far off. The world needs to reduce its carbon footprint to tackle climate change, and through developing autonomous vehicles run on electricity, the future is that bit brighter.


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Article from: Jen&IoT
Photo from: Pixabay