Autonomous cars - What to do with your time while your car drives itself?
Autonomous cars are yet to be widely adopted. However, it is already on the horizon thanks to the increase in the complexity of software development.
Autonomy will not only make mobility safer, but it will deeply change driving and automotive engineering. Freeing up valuable, stress-free, focus-free time for the driver will be one of the many products of this technology. But what would people do with that free time?
Our modern society seems to always lack something. Time. We glorify time that we turn into money, and we imagine scenarios of all the things we would do … if only we would have some extra time.
As we are getting closer to the future of automotive, autonomous cars will deliver some extra time for the driver.
What to do with it?
Levels of autonomy
Modern cars that are currently on the road are already autonomous to a certain degree. However, we are still quite far from the wide adoption of fully autonomous cars which corresponds to the 5th level of autonomy.
So here is a quick reminder of the fifth level of autonomy:
Level 0 – there is no automation in the vehicle, and the human is fully responsible for the driving.
Level 1 – An advanced driver assistance (ADAS) system can control steering or brake/acceleration.
Level 2 – the ADAS in the vehicle can control both the steering, the brake, and the acceleration.
Level 3 – the vehicle’s ADS (automated driving system) can perform all aspects of the driving, but only under some circumstances. However, it is vital that the human is monitoring the driving process and is ready to take over anytime. Many modern vehicles have this level of driver assistance in them already.
Level 4 – the ADS can perform all aspects of the driving and monitor the environment by itself, under certain circumstances. It is a highly autonomous level, where the human doesn’t need to pay any attention to the driving, most of the time, concerning the circumstances.
Level 5 – the ADS on the vehicle can perform all the aspects of the driving, regardless of the circumstances. At this level, the human driver can even sleep while travelling.
According to the NHTSA, we are now in the times of level 3 autonomy, where the vehicle has Partially Automated Safety Features, Lane-keeping assistance, Adaptive cruise control, Traffic jam assistance, or even Self-parking.
What would people do with the free time enabled by fully automated cars and vehicles?
A recent study by Ipsos/GenPop shows that people travelling with autonomous cars will still be spending most of their time paying attention to the road. Among the 130 000 car owners surveyed, Europeans would mostly pay attention to the road and spend their time communicating. Only a fraction of respondents would take a nap, relax or work in that plus time.
The answers are similar in Asia and North America as well. The results prove that drivers are still not trusting the concept of fully autonomous driving.
Even if the extended adoption of fully autonomous driving is yet to come, certain automated aspects are already easing driving for millions of drivers.
Image source: Pixabay, Freepik