Self-driving cars, the artificial intelligence of the future: where are at we now?
The consultant PwC forecasts that, by 2030, 40% of the miles traveled by road will be in self-driving vehicles. Waymo, a Google subsidiary, has already tested out its robotic driving system in 25 cities in the US. In many other places, tests are being conducted of autonomous cars, with a driver still in the driving seat.
As part of this trend, CESVIMAP, the MAPFRE Experimentation and Road Safety Center, is heading a pioneering initiative to understand the behavior, assess the possible risks, and reduce the errors in the environmental perception technologies installed in these vehicles.
Together with the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, we are researching all the technologies needed to implement self-driving: ultrasonic and infrared sensors, navigation and satellite positioning tools, camera and radar systems, and more. The conclusions reached will be essential for positioning MAPFRE as the benchmark insurance company for this innovative ecosystem.
So, I get in the car and I don’t do anything else?
“There is still a long way to go before having self-driving cars as we understand them: I get in the car and it takes me to work by itself.” said Rodrigo Encinar, R&D manager of CESVIMAP. “Transporting people in a self-driving vehicle is very complicated. On closed circuits, with limitations and fences, it already exists, but on the open road it is very difficult.”
At this point, we have to understand that, when we talk of self-driving, there are several levels: from 0, where a human being performs all the driving tasks and an automated assistant detects vehicles in the blind spots, to 5, where the vehicle systems can indeed operate without a human driver. Between the two scenarios, there is a wide range of possibilities where there is still a lot to investigate.
However, the paradigm presents other issues beyond the purely technological. First of all, the gaps in the law. In this country, the Third Party Liability and Insurance Act is not up to date and do not even include driverless driving. Also, there are the ethical debates. Who would be liable in the event of an accident? In a completely autonomous car, who should we insure?
In our corporate magazine MAPFRE World you will find a complete report in which you can consider these and other issues, as well as gain an in-depth knowledge of the research that we are conducting on the vehicles that will undoubtedly change the way we look at mobility in the not too distant future.