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What's Next for Autonomous Cars?

By Features Desk

Monday, April 9, 2018.

After a pedestrian was fatally struck by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, public testing of self-driving cars has been shut down in the United States. But what does this mean for the future of autonomous vehicles? Some experts are looking at Europe to now take over the reins and lead the way when it comes to this type of vehicle testing.

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Europe is taking a much slower and more regulated approach in testing autonomous vehicles, which they are saying will help with accident management - unfortunately accidents happen! But there will be every intention of stopping a repeat of what occurred in Arizona. Experts are also advising that the industry takes a step back to ensure that they get the technology right. Many countries in Europe have much stricter rules before putting vehicles on the streets. While it means that things may not move with such rapid progress, it may help to prevent the type of tragic accident that happened in America.

Countries in Europe have been hesitant when it comes to allowing private companies to test automated vehicles on the streets. The tests that have taken place in the continent are generally restricted to taking place on small streets or restricted to low speeds which are less likely to result in a serious accident.

Tesla and BMW

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In 2016, a Tesla vehicle on Autopilot setting caused a fatal collision when it didn’t detect a truck against a brightly lit sky. After this occurred, BMW CEO Harald Krueger announced that the company was getting involved in the creation of autonomous vehicles, but announced that safety would be put at the forefront of their activities. He also said that the vehicles were not yet ready for general production, but there are more than 40 cars currently being tested all over the world.   

Germany, the UK and France

A project has been green-lit in Germany this month which will involve autonomous buses transferring doctors and staff across private grounds, along predefined routes, and never exceeding speeds of 20 kmph. The UK’s biggest car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, began putting some self-driving vehicles on the roads last year and the government has promised a big investment to make the country a leader in the field.

In France, there has also been some testing that has taken place, though projects are currently restricted to small geographic areas, and self-driving vehicles only drive at higher speeds in areas where there is a greatly reduced risk of encountering pedestrians.

An Industry That Keeps Advancing

There is no doubt that self-driving cars seem to be much closer to becoming a mainstay of our roads than ever before. But as with any kind of accident that results in the death of a person, the industry has had to take a step back to look hard at itself and come up with ways so that this kind of tragedy does not occur in the future.    

What's Next for Autonomous Cars?

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