American roadways are about to look a lot different and you will have a back seat view. After my appearance on Huff Post Live talking about the launch of Google self driving cars, big automakers, Apple and even Uber join the rumor mill with self driving car talk.
On the horizon:
After logging 1m+ miles on the roads over the last 5 years and with fewer than a dozen accidents, Google’s self driving car experiment is ready to go prime time. Google announced that this summer, its new self-driving cars will hit the roads of Mountain View – solo (watch out drivers)! Watch me talk about it below
Google’s plan is to eliminate human drivers in 5 years in these classic and sleek driving machines (note: sarcasm) that will eliminate steering wheels, brakes, pedals and the ability to travel over 25 mph. Sexy, no? But Silicon Valley will eat this car up, how much do you want to bet?
And Google isn’t the only game in town. I wrote about Mercedes earlier this year announcing a super sleek model to allow drivers to toggle between self-driving and human driving. Now the game steps up a notch with General Motors announcing this week that its new cars will come equipped with Apple Car Play and Android Auto in 14 of its cars, creating a new war between the titans of Google and Apple that originated on the computer, migrated to mobile and now is playing out on car dashboards. Basically, once you’re plugged into the car’s USB port, your phone’s navigation, music and apps are integrated on the dashboard screen. According to IHS, Apple Car Play and Google’s Android Auto will be in 37 million and 31 million cars by 2020, respectively. Y’all this is a huge opportunity!
And don’t leave Apple out of the car-making talk! Dubbed “Project Titan.” Reports have come out this year, spotting Apple’s self-driving all-electric mini-van prototype (Um, Apple mini-van? no thanks). Some watchers say more than likely the company is testing extensive software to run these self driving cars, not necessarily manufacture a car. This despite the urges from Carl Icahn last week to make a car – see me talk about it below!
There are huge issues to be solved before driver-less cars become mainstream: will state regulations allow it to happen? Will consumers want to give up the freedom of driving? How do you settle disputes WHEN (not if) the car gets into an accident? Who services the car? Basic questions will keep the masses from buying into this.
And what if this bled into the taxi industry? Uber announced testing plans in February and its human-less vehicle was spotted driving around Philly. For Uber, taking the driver out of the driver seat eliminates is biggest expense: paying the driver! They have 150,000+ drivers on record.
For Early Adopters:
Your best chance of getting your hands on this new car technology is getting into a car with Android Auto or Apple Car Play because it will be at least 5 years before these self-driving vehicles are available to the public. Meanwhile, there are a host of other red tape issues to get through, but make no mistake about it…we will be living in an age of self-driving cars across the country in 7-10 years. What will we SoCal drivers do with all the extra time?!