Semi-Autonomous Vehicles & Connected Vehicles Can Save Lives Now!

Autonomous Vehicles mass adoption is not expected until the 2030’s.  Almost 40,000 Americans lose their lives in traffic fatalities every year.  The technology for Connected Vehicles and Semi-Autonomous Vehicles is here and ready to be implemented.  Why has this not happened yet?

The state of California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued 60 permits to companies testing Autonomous Vehicles in the state as of October 2018 (California Dept. of MV 2018).  Billions of dollars are being invested by Waymo, GM, Tesla, Voyage, Ford, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi in the pursuit of the technology that will enable these companies to commercialize their products.  While the investments are in the billions, it is estimated the A/V market will exceed $500 billion within ten years.  Depending upon who wins the race to bring the best AV product to market existing companies may not survive this technology catfight.  However, mass adoption of this technology is years away (Mennie, 2019). 

Meanwhile as this emerging technology is in the testing phase, Levels 1-3 of autonomous vehicles are in operation on our roads today.  These autonomous features which include driver assist, emergency braking, highway driving, lane assist, and parallel parking are providing a layer of safety in the market that has proven to be very popular with consumers.  Additional safety features employed by connected vehicles and smart cities while also in testing phase have proved (Yue & Abdel-Aty, 2018) to reduce automobile accidents and improve safety.  This technology exists today as several cities in the United States are currently utilizing in a pilot study. Connected vehicles, unlike autonomous vehicles continuously receive information from a variety of sources providing real time traffic updates and safety information so that drivers can make informed decisions about where to go, how to avoid road hazards, and be alerted to changing traffic conditions. Additionally, pedestrians, cyclists, taxi drivers, and buses can also receive this information from either their smart phones, enhanced rear view mirrors (Serves as a monitor with messages and alerts), or an onboard screen.

Author: James J. Mennie


Cite as: Mennie, J.J. (2019). An examination of autonomous vehicle technology. Muma Business Review 3(18). 207-212.