I must admit that I’m bit of a traditionalist and I like to drive my own car, but it’s still interesting to see the fantastic advances that companies are making in the field of autonomous cars.
It’s a sea change in the way we look at driving and has the potential to change the way we live our lives. Imagine hopping in your car for the morning commute and being able to read the paper while the car does the driving for you. It might not be for everybody, but it will definitely be appealing to a lot of people. Here are five autonomous car projects currently in the works and some of them may surprise you.
Google’s Autonomous Car Project
The most famous autonomous car project is undoubtedly the one that Google is conducting. Compared to other autonomous car projects this one has been in the works for quite some time.
In fact, if you live in California you may even have seen one of Google’s autonomous cars driving down the street. Google has been testing and developing driverless cars for almost 5 years now. They have a working prototype and their plan is to have a production model in place by 2020.
Autonomous Innovation by Tesla Motors
The car company Tesla has become synonymous with innovation, so it’s no surprise that they’ve dipped their feet into the autonomous car waters.
Tesla’s autonomous car project is the brainchild of CEO Elon Musk and it’s still pretty much in its infancy, but anything that Musk backs generally comes to fruition so I wouldn’t bet against him.
In fact, in October 2015 his company released autopilot software that already allows cars partial autonomy. Tesla’s timetable may be a little further out than Google’s, but don’t be surprised if they make up ground quickly.
China’s Baidu is Joining the Autonomous Party
The Chinese have made great leaps and bounds in the area of technology over the last few years. They may have started out creating cheap technological imitations of Western products, but in the last few years they’ve begun to introduce many of their own innovations.
In December 2015 Baidu announced that they had successfully tested their autonomous car on a closed track. They hope to have driverless cars hitting the streets of China within the next three years. This may seem ambitious, but with the rapid advancement of Chinese technological expertise it probably wouldn’t be wise to bet against it.
Apple Not to Be Outdone
It’s not surprising to find Apple at the forefront of technological innovation and their entrance into the autonomous car market is just another example of this.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody knows Apple’s plans for sure as they are notoriously secretive, but there are a lot of rumblings in tech circles that Apple is working on its own version of a driverless car.
They’ve taken out a lot of patents and bought up real estate that’s rumored to be the developing ground for this technology. Whether this all plays out or not remains to be seen, but it would probably be more surprising to find out that Apple isn’t entering this market then it would be to find out that it is.
The Upstart Uber wants in on the Game As Well
Uber is a company that brings with it a lot of controversy. Traditional taxi companies are fighting for their very existence against Uber’s innovative service. Their app has certainly changed the way we get around urban centers, but they don’t plan on stopping there.
This innovative company is now jumping into the autonomous car market. The company has already begun their research into autonomous cars and they’ve enlisted the help of Carnegie Mellon University’s technological expertise to get started. They’re taking this project very seriously as they’ve also leased some real estate in Pittsburgh near the university for convenience and to quickly get the project off the ground.
If there is one thing all of the companies above have in common it’s innovation. These are companies at the top of their game that generally accomplish what they set out to do.
We live in exciting times in the development of autonomous cars and these companies appear to be on the forefront of that technology. It will be interesting to see what our streets look like 10 years from now.