Autonomous Vehicles’ Future May Be Further Away, Different Than Imagined

by Theo Douglas, Government Technology

Experts agree that electric and autonomous vehicle technologies are here to stay, but where the industry will be in a decade or more is open to debate.

During a panel discussion at the 3rd Annual Civic & Gov Tech Showcase in San Jose, Calif., Sept. 13, rideshare, industry, academic and municipal experts took to the issues surrounding the technology and discussed how soon they believe it will take root in our daily lives. And though the panelists agreed that technologies like electric vehicles (EVs) are here to stay, they had some differing opinions on how AVs move from “scientific experiment” to reality.

Proterra CEO Ryan Popple and Lyft’s Debs Schrimmer concur that AV adoption growth, although likely rapid, will be mainly concentrated in the fleet vehicle industry, as opposed to individual owners.

Popple says the largest challenge is ensuring the technology serves all aspects of the market equally. “You’ll need a vehicle in your fleet, in your arsenal, that can handle diversity of mission if you’re going to accommodate everyone,” he says.

Meanwhile, Schrimmer notes Lyft has teamed with Drive.ai to develop a “brain” for Lyft’s AVs, with a pilot planned for year’s end. On the other hand, Ben McKeever with the University of California, Berkeley’s Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology says it will be at least 20 years “before we see anything close to a full rollout deployment of AV that are self-driving.”

Panelists also discussed the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution (SELF DRIVE) Act, which was passed earlier this month by the U.S. House of Representatives and would create a framework for federal AV regulation.  Read this report if you’d like that idiot in the car behind you replaced by a robot!

DCL: BTW, there’s lots of complex event processing in autonomous vehicles.  That’s one of the stumbling blocks – developing intelligent CEP.

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