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Self-Driving Cars Still Have Quite A Few Obstacles

March 17, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

If you’re an auto design buff, you’ve likely heard of Henrik Fisker. Hailed as a legend by some in the field, he’s worked with a wide range of big names like Tesla and Aston Martin. Some of Fisker’s design chops, including some of the earlier experiments with commercialized in electric vehicles, stand to show how long he’s been in the industry and how deep his involvement runs. According to Fisker and his long knowledge of the auto industry, self-driving cars face “major hurdles” before they can come to market, especially in their current form.

For starters, he thinks, from seeing waves of new tech come into the auto industry, that the changes to society and to the industry won’t be “as dramatic” as insiders, tech giants and consumers may be imagining. Some are saying that the auto industry will face major disruption and perhaps even a full-on transportation revolution once autonomous technology matures, but Fisker likens it instead to the rollout of any other major breakthrough, such as ABS brakes. He points to another problem being the self-driving cars’ inability to commit traffic infractions such as speeding, which are part of what make traffic flow on modern roads. Another major roadblock that Fisker points out is the fact that many rules concerning self-driving cars aren’t clearly laid out at the moment, including the monumental question of who may be liable in cases of accidents involving self-driving cars. The issue has been touched on, but thus far, there has been no significant decision as to who would be held responsible in such cases, although, in the U.S., the DOT has been given a deadline to come up with rules.

Along with all of these problems, there are still the facts that modern roads and human drivers aren’t the friendliest toward self-driving cars. Whether this points to a tweak being needed in the way self-driving cars work or the way current traffic works is still up for debate. Regulatory issues plague the entire scenario, as well as the quandary of making self-driving cars a commercial success with all the fragmentation going on; while some automakers will be using Google’s systems, some will be making their own and others will be sticking to manually driven vehicles. Many questions remain unanswered and, as Fisker said, many hurdles remain between self-driving cars as they are now and how they may be when they’re finally ready for commercial release.