Will Humans Still Be Driving Cars in 2040?

BY 2040, humans will no longer be driving cars, says expert 1 photo
Photo: The Wildcat Tribune
In recent human history, a habit of naming generations became popular. Starting with the 1920s, we had the Silent Generation (born between 1920-1940), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X, born between 1965 and 1982 and finally Millenials (1982-2004).
Each generation got its name from a big event of their time. So what shall we call the generation of kids that comes into the world from 2018 onwards, a generation which will never feel the pleasure of manually driving a car?

More and more experts feel that the advent of the autonomous vehicles will mean zero driver's licenses in the near future. Some are more optimistic than others, but Henrik Christensen, director fo the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute, is the most pesimistic of them all.

According to Futurism, Christensen feels that the kids born today will never drive a car in their lives. That means that in the course of just 16 to 18 years, by 2040, that is, autonomous vehicles will no longer be weird to look at, but popular to ride in.

His estimate may not be at all accurate. Sure, autonomous vehicles are being developed by a huge number of companies: Ford, General Motors, the Renault Nissan Alliance, Google, Apple or Uber, just to name a few.

But their experiments are still in the early stages. The cars currently on the market are Level 2, 3 at most. Several manufacturers have begun testing Level 4 technologies, but none has ventured so far yet as to go for a Level 5.

How long will developing a Level 5 car will take? Very long. Add to that the time needed for regulations to be drawn up. And the time required for all manufacturers, not just a few, to adopt the new technologies. And infrastructure changes. And many many other aspects, some still unclear, of autonomous driving.

“As wonderful as AI is, AI systems are inevitably flawed… We’re not even close to Level 5. It’ll take many years and many more miles, in simulated and real world testing, to achieve the perfection required for level 5 autonomy.” said Gill Pratt, head of Toyota’s Research, Institute according to the source.

When they do make it into existence, It may very well be that autonomous driving vehicles will only catch on in transportation, emergency or delivery services. Humans will always feel a drive to be in control.

So no, probably by 2040 we'll not see self-driving cars all over the place. And yes, today's kids will drive cars, as humans have for more than one hundred years.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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