Once upon a time, being able to drive a car without having to manually change gears was the biggest technology around. Now, with advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the way we drive is dramatically changing. It’s perfectly appropriate now to ask whether we will actually be driving at all in the future.
Entrepreneur Bill Busbice has been thinking about the future of driving for a while now. He co-owned a trucking company, Ace Transportation, for several years before moving onto tech-oriented investments. These days his main investment is HWY Pro, a mobile app that aims to make the trucking life much easier.
In the process of developing the app, Mr. Busbice realized that driving, transporting goods and people is fundamentally changing because of new technology, and this is not the regular automotive technology that makes engines more efficient either. In a way, driving is being taken over by machine learning algorithms and Mr. Busbice believes that the transportation industry should brace itself for major changes in the future.
Auto Pilot Driving
One of the most exciting new projects in the transportation industry is self-driving. There are already startups in Silicon Valley in the process of investing in a self-driving truck. But car lovers will be more familiar with projects by Google and Uber to invent new self-driving cars. Google is already predicting that computers could be better drivers than people. While actual self-driving technology is still years away, there’s something we already have that’s close to the real thing: auto pilot. Some newer vehicle models by Tesla, Lexus, and Toyota are being issued with auto pilot features. Cars can now parallel park themselves, and also relieve the stress of driving for human drivers. In the future, auto pilot will become more sophisticated, and driving will never be the same again.
We expect our cars now to be like smartphones: always connected to the internet. Indeed, web-connected vehicle models have dramatically risen in number between 2009 and 2017. Now there are as many as 6 million car models with some type of internet access. In-car connectivity means more sophisticated GPS and entertainment systems. Also, according to Mr. Busbice, in-car connectivity also means more efficient driving. Drivers now use various apps to make driving a less strenuous process. Drivers can use simple tech features like audible text messages to stay connected on the road. On a more sophisticated level, drivers, especially commercial drivers, can use apps like HWY Pro to actually plan routes and load dispatches. In the future, we can expect more connectivity and more apps like that.
The most important feature tech is introducing to driving is increased safety. New apps, web connectivity, and auto pilot features are making cars safer to drive. For example, consider City Safety tech by Volvo that can detect objects in front of the car to prevent accidents. Mercedes-Benz also has a tech program that makes drivers more alert on the road. These sensitive safety features will hopefully be more ubiquitous in the coming years.
Machine learning is also making GPS navigation tech more accurate and easy to use. Driving is definitely improving for the better. Who knows, maybe road accidents will become a rarity in the next five years.