With the disruptive technology of autonomous vehicles making headlines every day, we can the fantasy of driving an AI-controlled car unfold into reality. The Department for Transport, for instance, claimed that it wants to see fully autonomous cars tested in the UK by 2021.
Autonomous companies such as Optimus Ride and Delphi are already testing out self-driving cars in Boston. Hyundai and Kia Motors, too, are incorporating elements of self-driving to create an Automated Valet Parking System (AVPS) – a combination of electronic charging and autonomous driving to help drivers park their cars remotely with their smartphones.
Despite self-driving cars being right around the corner, sparse information is available about their capabilities. With the truth about autonomous vehicles being shrouded in mystery, numerous myths and misconceptions have started to circulate around the world. And so, we shall debunk some of the most popular myths and replace them with real facts to educate the public with the truth about autonomous vehicles.
Myth #1: Autonomous Vehicles Will Take Away the Joy of Driving
The rush that is accompanied by stepping on the accelerator, the power that comes from sitting behind the steering wheel of a powerful SUV and the joy of taking in the beautiful landscapes and on a scenic drive are some of the beautiful feelings that people are not ready to give up yet. The truth is, they don’t have to. When autonomous become mainstream in the future, manufacturers do not intend to turn the owners into a sitting duck in their vehicles. Driving a stick shift or an automatic car gives drivers a sense of control and so, the choice to drive their vehicle manually or to let the AI take control will completely be in their hands.
Myth #2: Autonomous Vehicles Are an Expensive Invention
Developing AI technology to support self-driving cars is without a doubt, a costly process. However, the fact that it is a costly invention through and through is a widespread myth. As autonomous vehicles become standard, their innovative technology will enable users to save a significant amount of money in the long run. With improved safety standards, they reduce the need for timely repairs and paying for expensive insurance. They are also known to be more efficient and reduce traffic time, helping you save money on fuel. Moreover, it is a great solution for disabled people to land jobs, go into work with ease and lead independent lives.
Myth #3: Autonomous Vehicles Will Cost a Fortune
This statement is correct but only to a certain degree as initial self-driving car models will cost more than traditional models. However, self-driving cars in the early phases will most likely be implemented by business armadas and commercial fleets to test out the product. They will undergo multiple alternations and enhancement to perfect the technology. Till the time it hits the consumer market, the improved models will have much more reasonable prices.
Myth #4: Owning Autonomous Vehicles Will Be Like Owning a Typical Car
This a total myth as self-sufficient vehicles will radically transform the notion of ‘vehicle proprietorship’. In today’s date, individuals feel the need to claim ownership of a vehicle as traditional cars are not capable of exploring the city without a driver on board. There is a belief that vehicles help individuals navigate their way through the city but they spend most of their life parked in the garage or on the street. Once the innovation of autonomous vehicles takes off, individuals can opt for shard vehicle possession and membership-based purchases. A study FHWA revealed that one self-driving car has the potential to replace 13 individually owned vehicles and thus, become a much more eco-friendly and affordable alternative. 
Myth #5: Autonomous Vehicles Will Resemble Standard Vehicles
Conventional cars are created keeping the driver’s perspective in mind. Similarly, the new self-driving models will be moulded to fit the idea of hands-free travelling experience. Manufactures may focus on amplifying space by eliminating factors that are not essential for self-driving cars. Items such as steering wheels and pedals may become retractable to maximise traveller comfort. However, certain elements may stay the same or be modified to ensure individuals can still drive their car whenever they wish to.
Myth #6: Autonomous Vehicles Will Be a Safety Hazard
When discussing the safety standards of autonomous vehicles, the first question that pops into the mind is the ethical trolley problem wherein the AI must settle on deciding who to protect and who to save during an inevitable accident, making people wonder whether they are truly safe. However, a report by NHTSA dictates that driver error causes about 90% of traffic accidents. When Google’s self-driving cars were put to the test, they witnessed 16 crashes in over two million miles- all of which were caused by human error, rendering the above statement completely false.
Myth #7: Autonomous Vehicles Can Be Hacked
This popular myth stemmed from a 2015 experiment wherein a traditional Jeep Cherokee was controlled and driven by a remote hacker. However, the truth about self-driving cars is that they offer more security than traditional cars. Despite their numerous entry points, they possess complex interconnectivity between multiple sensors and communication layers, rendering hackers helpless during a cyber-attack. Moreover, manufacturers have proposed foolproof solutions to address the potential hacking issues by equipping self-driving cars with military-grade protection.
There is no way of predicting what the future holds for autonomous vehicles. However, one thing is for sure- self-driving vehicles will not be rolled out as soon as the technology is developed. Cities will require to accommodate changes such as smart streets, sensors and so on to build a smart city that can support the autonomous cars. While there is a major revolution waiting to happen before autonomous vehicles hit the streets, it is for a fact that life will get much easier for all of mankind as opposed to the myths that you may have previously heard.