Several manufacturers – from BMW to Daimler, Nissan and now even Toyota – have been promising us series-produced autonomous vehicles by 2020. Is this the next attack on the taxi industry?
The answer is no. What the PR machines from Google (see box below), Daimler and Co. are leading us to believe is in fact a mixture of both vision and reality.
The grand vision: All that’s required is the touch of a button on a smart phone. While we’re putting on our jacket, the vehicle is already driving itself out of the garage. On the way to work, we do the last-minute preparations for the big meeting. How? Because the car is looking after the steering for us. Trouble finding a parking spot? No problem. The car will find one for us. And don’t worry, it will wait there until the work is over and then we can just push the button that takes us home – Same procedure as in the morning – this time the other way around.
However, we still have a long way to go before such highly intelligent vehicles become our reality. The various traffic situations are too complex and the legal regulations too demanding. People also have big reservations about actually relinquishing the control of their beloved vehicles. And it was long ago since any major developments have been made in this direction. Those who are leading the race in this regard are Google…
Please read the complete article in Taxi Times issue 2014, septembre. Use our special offer and subscribe Taxi Times for free until the end of 2015.