The opportunities that driverless vehicles present are undoubtedly profound. None more so than the emergence of multi-modal transport services (trains, planes, automobiles … and boats) that will intelligently cooperate to take us from A to B without any human intervention.
Replacing the old biological controllers — namely us — the autonomous vehicle will excel in everything from energy efficiency to just being safe. The technology of today already affords us a near-term vision of the car where:
- route planning and optimization
- refueling and recharging
- transactions with services (tolls, shops, parking lots)
- authentication and hand-shaking for the purpose of site access control are all automatically achieved by the vehicle, without the human ‘in-the-loop’. Removing the human from all of these piloting activities in concert, including that of physically maneuvering the vehicle, will prove to be the real transformation in the experience that autonomy will bring to car users.