US government gets in gear by ‘investing’ in connected cars | TU Automotive

On the initiative, and with the funding of the US Department of Transportation (DOT), a unique partnership between it, other public bodies and multiple OEMs and carmakers has been formed to deploy and test the performance of a broad array of…

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So while we are getting use to the idea of connected cars, the US Government has embarked on hastening the adoption of driverless cars. Fundamentally this involves developing apps at one end of the scale and testing of thousands of cars concurrently at the other end, typically decided by how much each DOT or research facility has available to spend on research.

The focus appears to be that in order for mass adoption to occur, a huge amount of infrastructure needs to be built into the roads, intersections and road signals themselves, rather than expecting the vehicles to have all the smarts.

This makes sense from the perspective that if all traffic controls, roadsides, and all vehicles from bikes to trains can communicate with each other, then the vehicles don’t have to be as smart and the cost, which would be highly prohibitive of mass production would be dramatically reduced.

This would seem to do two key things:

1. The driverless cars would not need to be quite as expensive, although I suspect still well out of the reach of the average motorist, in actual fact it is mostly companies and Government that buy new cars anyway.  But you could argue those are on the road the most too.

2. It pushes the real cost of driverless cars into the ITS infrastructure, putting the cost onto the taxpayers.

It’s not a bad strategy if they can bring it off, based on the documented benefits of fewer crashes and incidents as well as more economic driving with platooning and better behaviour such as merging correctly without slowing the freeways and highways. However the ITS infrastructure is very expensive, and the risk that mass adoption will even take place, which is far from guaranteed and would only be a freeway and urban solution in many places.

The potential fatal flaw in this is if either:

1. People say, I want to drive my car, I like driving my car, or I can’t afford an autonomous car. Price is of course one of the barriers that has slowed the growth of hybrid and electric cars.

2. People decide that they might just not bother to have a car at all and opt for improved public transport or ride share options.

The latter is not a bad outcome in principle because the ITS technology can also support public transport and emergency vehicles, but there are cheaper solutions available for those.

These cars are coming and I am sure that before too long a town and then a city in Europe or the US will support these cars and we will get a chance to see how they operate in the real world.

It is great to see innovation occurring at pace. There is not doubt that the face of transport needs to change.

The most significant next step might be aftermarket ODB2 solutions that can be retrofitted into existing cars focused on increasing safety.

These easy quick fixes could come from insurance companies who have a lot to gain from reduced accidents.

PAYD (Pay As You Drive) with rewards for good driving behaviors would be a great start. These could include discounts on registration, reduced insurance premiums as well as bragging rights through gamification.

Connected systems can be installed complete with mobile apps for as little as $200 per car. The savings from the reduction of incidents and their cost could go towards the development of more expensive solutions such as autonomous cars.

See on Scoop.itLocation Is Everywhere

About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
This entry was posted in Autonomous cars, car insurance, connected cars, ITS, PAYD, Public Transport and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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