The American public eats up news about new features and gadgets planned for their automobiles. When a car company introduces some great new option for one of its vehicles, consumers look at competitive product lines to see if they're available. New ideas and technological developments, especially regarding safety and comfort, are king of the hill in most driver's minds. But is the public truly ready for a self-driving car?
Anyone that follows technology news even remotely is aware of Google's driverless car. With over 300,000 miles of accident-free testing so far, the project has been successful at the very least. At this juncture almost every major automaker is working on some form of a self-driving car. The trickle-down theory of technology has given us current options such as collision-avoidance systems and cruise control that is guided by radar. Technological mainstays such as Bluetooth, GPS navigation, and satellite radio are now considered must-haves by the majority of the driving public.
A study just released by KPMG now shows that the country that was made smaller by the freedoms of an automobile may be willing to let the car do the driving. The study came up with some interesting insights:
· Consumers would prefer to buy an autonomous vehicle engineered by a technology firm rather than a car company.
· Even people with a "passion for driving" would be willing to let a self-driving car into their garage.
· The momentum of developing a driverless car is moving faster than anyone expected.
· Performance of a self-driving car will take a back seat to comfort and convenience items.
While you will not see a completely automated car in the near future, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, and of course Mercedes-Benz all have semi-autonomous traffic avoidance features on the market or coming soon. Mechanical engineers from Stanford have had a driverless Audi on the track at Thunderhill Raceway hitting speeds of 100 miles an hour. Audi has Mr. Spock in their corner as well.
One of the great things about the automobile is that it moves in conjunction with technology. Things that seemed impossible a generation ago make driving today safer and more comfortable. Anti-lock brakes, airbags, and better climate control and entertainment systems all improve the driving experience. If the automobile manufacturers and technology companies can get it right, we will gladly accept driverless cars into our hearts. We may even demand it someday.