Klein Vision, the makers of AirCar, say it took them about two years to develop its prototype and they already have about 40,000 orders in the United States alone. Industry experts are confident that flying cars like AirCar will provide much-needed respite from the demands of the transportation industry. Its fuel consumption is also rather economical compared to other aircraft.
“AirCar certification opens the door to the mass production of highly efficient flying cars. It’s official and the final confirmation of our ability to change mid-distance travel forever,” said Professor Stefan Klein, the inventor, development team leader and test pilot. “50 years ago, the car was the embodiment of freedom”, explains Anton Zajac, co-founder of the project. “AirCar pushes those boundaries, taking us into the next dimension; where the road meets the sky.
Waymo launched the Trusted Tester program in select US cities earlier this year, allowing test enthusiasts to sign up for a self-driving ride through their Waymo One™ calling service app. Speaking of which, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the first signal they got that they really had something special was the overwhelming demand that told them about the possibility that they might find the future of mobility.
“There were 10,000 applications to join the program in 24 hours and at the moment we are in this position where there is more demand for seats in our cars than we can supply, which is not a bad problem to have,” says Krafcik.
People who have been driven by Waymo cars vouch for its safety measures indoors and on the road among other vehicles. It tracks other motors, cyclists, pedestrians, including roadside trash cans. He follows traffic rules and maintains lane disciplines, sometimes much better than his human counterparts. Passengers have a panel of push buttons to stop, unlock doors and call for help in an emergency.
Another cool feature of Waymo that its riders are absolutely proud of is that their feedback is actually integrated into the system and becomes available with the next update. Rolinda, a San Francisco resident and frequent Waymo user, says the day Waymo becomes just another car on the road, merging with traffic, it really has arrived and with every update it gets closer .
According to its product development team, Waymo’s vision is to create a “driver” that would make it easy for people and things to get where they are going and their work has the potential to transform lives. With the team gaining experience deploying each Waymo rider across a range of vehicle platforms and incorporating user feedback, they now offer rides to hundreds of San Franciscans. Prior to the launch of Waymo One™ in Arizona, they used a comprehensive set of evaluation processes to validate vehicle performance. Apple is targeting 2024 to launch its fully automated autonomous electric vehicles, in line with the 2030 target plan to go green. When Apple enters a market, its topography will never stay the same. This has already happened in technology with personal computers and smartphones and it will also happen with cars.
A few years ago, in a candid moment, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, spoke publicly about Apple’s work on self-driving software, confirming the company’s work. “We’re focused on autonomous systems. It’s a core technology that we consider very important. We kind of consider it the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the projects of ‘Hardest AI to work with.’ — Apple CEO Tim Cook on Apple’s plans in the automotive space. Rumors speculate that Apple Car will feature an all-new battery design that will revolutionize technology while reducing costs and increasing battery life. It is also said to have deployed LiDAR sensors that can record 300,000 points per second at a distance of up to 100 meters, mounting 14 of them on the car with four facing forward, two to the rear and two to the rear. every corner.
There’s no confirmed news yet on whether software, chip and integration tech development will be outsourced or built in-house, though the latter is highly likely given that iPhones’ revenue exceeds 46. billions of dollars. However, Apple’s plans for its design and development have remained confidential and apparently it is testing its sensing and artificial intelligence technologies using Lexus RX540h SUVs to keep its design secret until it is officially unveiled.
Speculation stemming from Apple’s numerous patent applications indicates that its self-driving system could modify its behavior based on the stress levels of its passengers by using an array of internal sensors and continuously capturing relevant data points. If the car’s occupants were under stress, the system could reduce its speed or turn slowly on bends. Its skid recovery systems would keep the car under control during tight situations.
However, as enticing as the technology behind driverless cars is, it is crucial to have all the necessary regulations in place before they are mass-produced. Although there is currently no universally accepted approach to assess the safety of autonomous vehicles, Waymo uses several processes ranging from computer simulations, structured testing on closed circuits and driving on real roads. When the fifth-generation Waymo Driver was introduced to the Jaguar I-PACE vehicle platform in San Francisco, highly trained specialists sat behind the wheels so they could deactivate the vehicles’ autonomous mode and resume driving. conduct when they deemed it necessary.
With ongoing discussions between policy makers, regulators and industry leaders, it is still unclear as to who should be held liable in the event of an accident. Since an autonomous vehicle must work in conjunction with hardware, software and sensors, an accident could be caused by the malfunction of any of them, in which case the driver cannot be held responsible. If this is due to the AV system not undergoing required timely updates, then the driver would be responsible. On the other hand, the fault could rest with the manufacturers in the event of non-compliance with safety standards. Finally, the local authorities would also be guilty in the event of breaches of road safety.
In India, all transport regulations are governed by the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, which does not even allow test drives of commercial vehicles on Indian roads. An amendment to this was proposed in the 2017 MVA that incorporated autonomous vehicle testing, but is still pending approval. Current laws do not hold manufacturing and insurance companies liable in the event of a claim.
Therefore, the situation becomes tricky when assessing responsibilities with driverless cars because technically nobody is at fault! And yet, the legal troop in India sees the autonomous system as a necessary evil because although there are several challenges associated with this technology, its benefits are enormous.
There are more than 1.3 million victims each year in road accidents and most of them are believed to be caused by human error. According to a report by Mckinsey, autonomous vehicles could reduce road accidents by 90%. This, combined with the plan to make the Earth greener and safer, reinforced the idea behind our driverless future. As they strive to make travel safer and easier, industry leaders are proud of their progress and the many job opportunities they create along the way, such as teleoperators, drivers remote assistance, etc.
By Ranjani Krishnamurthy