Cars and even the type of processes involved in producing and maintaining cars are becoming more automated. It is reaching the point where drivers and laborers aren’t really involved in the processes at all. In many ways, this is going to be beneficial for road users. Let’s start by thinking about how automation is slowly making its way onto the roads.
The Future of Self-Driving Cars
Right now, it is indeed possible to buy a car that drives on the road essentially, without your interference or aid. We are of course talking about vehicles equipped with the Tesla Autopilot software. Although, it is worth pointing out that Tesla do not suggest that it’s a completely hands-off experience. Rather, they advise, that drivers keep both hands on the wheel at all times and maintain their attention on the road.
Why do they do this? Well, firstly, there have been crashes due to the fact that someone was using the self-driving technology with no care nor attention to the road. In this case, it was revealed that the driver had seven seconds to prevent the accident. That might not seem like a lot of time, but on the road, it’s an age.
So, we’re not quite at the point where self-driving cars can be trusted completely. But, we will get there sooner rather than later. And, what happens when we reach that point? It’s highly likely that, similar to the future predicted in I-robot, every car will be autonomous.
What do you do when your car needs fixing or a service? You take it to a mechanic, and they service it for you, ensuring that everything is sorted and handled. However, could we be reaching the point where car maintenance is also automated? This has already been seen with automated car washes. When you use an automatic car wash, there’s no human interaction at all. Instead, everything is handled by the machinery and the equipment. The driver simply has to steer the car through.
Right now, developers are working on similar types of equipment that can handle car maintenance and repair without any interaction necessary at all. It’s quite possible that in a few years mechanics are going to be out of a job when tech can handle repairs and maintenance without them being necessary. There’s also the small factor that modern cars require far less maintenance anyway.
Building The Dream
What about building the car? Enter a car factory this year, and you might be surprised by what you discover. You’ll see very few workers and a lot of equipment that is essentially running itself. Robotics move freely painting and spraying the cars or fixing together new pieces. All these pieces of machinery have programmed software to ensure that they continue to operate as they should. But aside from this, and a few buttons that need clicking to get the systems going, there’s very little interaction at all.
So, will the future of the car industry be automated? At this point, it would definitely be a safe bet to say yes.