The automotive world has reached Level 2 automation. What’s next?
Technologies meeting Level 3 automation definitions and requirements are already available, but we’re still waiting for legislation to catch up. That’s why you don’t see these systems being offered by carmakers. So it’s not entirely up to the industry to decide when we will start seeing them on the road. Legislation licensing the sale and operation of such systems must come first.
Legislation aside, what other problems need to be solved?
Functional safety is a key aspect. In the world we inhabit today, a driver-caused accident is a seen as a sad, but ordinary part of life. A machine-caused accident, however, would be a scandal that could undermine users’ trust now and for years to come, so the technology must be configured with reserves to manage all possible causes of malfunctions.
For example, the energy source, the brake system, the steering – all these have to be backed up. One of the reasons why various technologies sensing the vehicle’s surroundings are combined is to compensate for the physical limits of any one system. And obviously, complex, backed-up technology means that another problem is cost, by which I mean the cost of the manufacturer’s investments and the price of the system concerned. As customers may be put off by the final price, we need to look for suitable business models, too.