In a pleasantly surprising move, the Federal Government seems for once determined to move at something a bit quicker than melting glaciers. Indeed, as a follow-up to President Obama’s recent pledge to to spend over $3.9 billion during the next ten years, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has just given the Department of Transportation a deadline by when they must submit a draft of comprehensive rules governing autonomous vehicle testing and regulation: just six months.
By now you’ve probably read the recent article over at Autoblog about those reports detailing “thousands of failures in self-driving cars,” after which you probably threw your hands up in the air and said “see, obviously autonomous cars are crap, they’re dangerous, and they have no business being on the roads, at least not any time soon.”
And you’d be wrong. Very wrong indeed.
If anybody had any lingering doubts whether the autonomous vehicle revolution is really a thing, rest assured, it is indeed a thing. And it’s inexorably barreling forward at a rate that seems to be picking up speed week over week.
To wit, we recently reported on the NAVYA driverless buses currently testing, and rolling out for public consumption later this year, in Switzerland; not to mention the leaps and bounds by which the likes of Volvo and Tesla have been advancing of late.
And now it turns out that Northern California is about to dive head first into the driverless bus arena later this year as well.
First, please excuse my absence over the holidays; I hope you all had a great one and a wonderful start to 2016. On the other hand, I’m sure you had more important things to do than read about Teslas cheating death, Switzerland’s new driverless tour buses, or why 2020 will be the most important year in automobile history.
But before we get to 2020, let’s kick off 2016 with all the fanfare and excitement it deserves, because it will go down in history as the first year that mostly-autonomous cars start to become widely available, and indeed, the first of a quartet of years leading to the climax that will be 2020. Because let’s get one thing straight: you will have an autonomous car by 2020, and you’ll be able to have one in 2016.
So what do we have to look forward to this year?
- Tesla finally faces its first legitimate competitor… or not?
- Chevy Bolt brings 200 miles of electric driving under $30,000
- Mercedes’ cars learn to talk to one another
- Volvo’s onslaught into the autonomous driving world continues
- … and more!
So let’s dive in and see what we can expect in 2016…
Fortunately, only one of those statements is true. Unfortunately however, they’re both so mind-bendingly absurd, you’d be hard pressed to guess which one is pure poppycock.
Care to place your bets on which one is true? The least illogical of the two, surely? Arguably, there’s at least some logic — if you’re drunk, comically pro-oil, or believe that solar power plants should be illegal because they will drain the sun of its energy — that electric cars could be mandated to carry backup gasoline tanks, just as cars need to carry a spare tire, no matter how utterly stupid that would be.
In contrast, the notion that “driverless” cars must include drivers is per se a contradiction, and cannot possibly be true. Obviously.
So which is it? Take a long, deep breath. And three shots of your favorite hard alcohol. Maybe seven. Better yet, just pass out and don’t even continue reading because it will likely cause your blood to boil and your face to explode.