M2M to drive mass adoption of driverless cars by 2040

Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication services are set to play a huge role in the role of transport according the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The institute anticipates that by the year 2040, driverless cars — operated using M2M technologywill account for up to 75 per cent of cars on the road worldwide.

Web giant Google became the first company in the world to obtain a licence for driverless cars, after the US state of Nevada passed a law in June 2011 to allow the operation of driverless cars in the state. Driverless cars operate through use of communicating sensors to ensure safe and efficient travel. Through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication there may be no need for traffic lights and stop signs when all of the cars on the road are driverless.

“Intersections will be equipped with sensors, cameras and radars that can monitor and control traffic flow to help eliminate driver collisions and promote a more efficient flow of traffic. The cars will be operating automatically, thereby eliminating the need for traffic lights,” said Dr. Alberto Broggi, IEEE senior member and professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Parma in Italy.

Travel on motorways would also change significantly with more autonomous vehicles on the road; autonomous and traditional vehicles would have their own designated lanes, which would help minimise traffic jams, increase efficiency and allow for faster speeds.

“Through use of dedicated lanes on the highway, it will provide more streamlined flows of traffic, which will make the transportation with these vehicles more energy efficient,” said Dr. Azim Eskandarian, IEEE Member and director of the centre for Intelligent Systems Research.

Such cars will also enable people of all ages and abilities to utilise these vehicles, thereby eliminating the need for having a driver’s license.

“People do not need a license to sit on a train or a bus,” added Eskandarian. “In a full autonomy case in which no driver intervention will be allowed, the car will be operating autonomously, so there will not be any special requirements for drivers or occupants to use the vehicle as a form of transportation.”

He added, however that the vehicles will need many more certifications in order to meet new standards.

Despite all of the benefits, driver and passenger acceptance are the largest barriers to widespread adoption of driverless cars.

“Drivers and passengers are hesitant to believe in the technology enough to completely hand over total control,” said Jeffrey Miller, IEEE Member and associate professor in the Computer Systems Engineering department at University of Alaska Anchorage. “Car manufacturers have already started to incorporate automated features, including parallel parking assistance, automatic braking systems and drowsy driver protection, to help people slowly ease into utilising driverless technologies.

“Over the next 28 years, use of more automated technologies will spark a snowball effect of acceptance and driverless vehicles will dominate the road.”

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One comment

  1. Avatar Mark 21/09/2012 @ 6:01 pm

    I don’t know why people would be hesitant to trust technology to drive them safely and efficiently. I’m guessing most people don’t realize today’s jumbo jets are all landed by technology and remote control. Once the pilots get within range, they just sit back and the planes land themselves. Cars will certainly drive themselves someday and I’d bet adoption comes a lot quicker than imagined. Personally, I can’t wait!

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