What it’s Like Driving an Autonomous Vehicle?

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A Finnish study did extensive research on passengers’ attitudes towards, and experiences while driving self-driving cars. The study is also stated as the first in the world to examine passengers’ experiences of self-driving cars in winter conditions.

Given autonomous vehicles growing traction across the globe, this study enlightens many importance facets of how passengers feel inside a self-driving car.

The Finnish study explored passengers’ experiences in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, and in Muonio, a small town in Finnish Lapland. In Helsinki, passengers used a driverless shuttle bus in two test areas. In Muonio, local residents travelled with an autonomous car in heavy winter conditions on the main road. The quantitative survey included 141 people, and 70 people participated in a qualitative interview.

The findings were published in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. The study was carried out in collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and Tampere University.

The researchers charted passengers’ attitudes towards self-driving cars, factors influencing their positive or negative attitudes, and factors that could encourage passengers to use self-driving cars.

According to the study, people’s positive attitude towards self-driving cars was most influenced by trust, safety and security. However, people were not prepared to accept technological errors in self-driving cars, even though it is understood that the technology is still under development.

Young passengers clearly had more confidence in the safety and security of self-driving cars than older passengers, and students estimated their ability to act in an emergency to be better than the employed. Winter conditions had no significant impact on people’s attitudes towards self-driving cars. There was also no significant difference between the genders.

Mobility-As-A-Service (MaaS) Industry

Increasing demand for smartcard transportation tickets is expected to boost revenue growth of market during the forecast period. MaaS employs both public and private cars, with ride-sharing services accounting for the most revenue. Autonomous vehicles will minimize necessity for private vehicle ownership and associated expenses. Drivers will no longer be liable for driving, which will raise profits for ride-sharing businesses. The electric mobility as a service (eMaaS) market is also growing rapidly. It combines cutting-edge technologies with innovative business strategies to pave way for widespread adoption of electric cars.

In this scenario, the global Mobility as a Service (MaaS) market size is expected to reach USD 41.63 Billion in 2030 and register a revenue CAGR of 32.3% during the forecast period, according to latest report by Reports and Data.

Often inter-state and inter-city travelers have difficulty in scheduling and boarding multiple types of transportation to get to their destination. Governments of developing countries are preparing to implement the French Mobility Act, which includes one ticket or smartcard for mobility as a service. One transportation ticket program provides a wide range of services, including single-pass, which would replace customers’ present subscriptions to all services. Every country’s government concentrates on building plans with stakeholders and mobility operators to ensure data privacy and security. As it unites all of applications under one roof, smartcard service app is expected to save consumers time and effort.

Key Trends To Watch Out in 2022

AI Training Continues to Be a Priority towards Widespread Adoption – Technology for autonomous vehicles (AV) – largely self-driving cars and trucks – has advanced quickly but must mature significantly before it can be allowed to operate without substantial constraints. The primary challenge is how the technology will handle difficult-to-predict situations, including sharing the road with erratic and distracted human drivers. These are difficult to “hard code” and thus artificial intelligence must be “trained” into the platform. To further this goal and advance machine learning, many AV companies are building up their database of trainable experiences through both simulation and on-road testing.

Watch for AV Adoption in “Middle Mile” Transportation First– As gas prices increase and drivers are harder to find, “middle mile” automated transportation is a growing need. The middle mile, which constitutes mostly straight-forward highway driving, is an expensive part of logistics and supply chains that is ripe for efficiency gains and cost savings. Implementing AV models for middle mile transportation requires the least amount of AI ability to replace human judgment. Vehicles are usually set at controlled speeds and make infrequent turns or lane changes, minimizing the risk of accidents.

But Robo-Taxis and Urban Air Mobility Will Come – Eventually – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, cities continue to grow – along with traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Ridesharing and electric vehicles are helpful mitigators, but streets filled with human drivers will always be inefficient from a traffic management standpoint. Safety remains a very high barrier to widespread adoption of robo-taxis and urban air mobility, but demand is already high and continues to increase. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Camera Technology Offers Unprecedented Situational Awareness – Camera technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate and has some advantages over Lidar and other ranging sensors in many scenarios – particularly when it comes to reading road signs and identifying the specific nature of potential hazards. Modern processors can handle the necessary image capture rates and fidelity, and thereby enable AI to leverage far more information about the vehicle’s environment into making better decisions.

Driver-Assistance Features May Facilitate Consumer AV Adoption – While fully automated vehicles are not currently available to the consumer market, there has been an increase of semi-automated “driver assist” functions like cruise control, automatic braking, and self-parking in many cars and trucks on the market. This is likely to increase consumers’ comfort level with the idea of technology driving a vehicle by the time AVs are available to them.

Public Perspectives On Defining And Using Autonomous Cars

Driving an Autonomous Vehicle

The advantages and disadvantages of autonomous technology are coexisting, and AV technology is growing rapidly as both research and industry have put significant efforts to develop AVs. While AVs are often discussed in regard to their implications, benefits, technological development, and technological challenges, less attention has been paid to the public acceptance and perception of AVs. The process of innovation diffusion may not always be smooth. For many new technologies, the non-technological issues are more likely to be a barrier toward the adoption of this technology than the technological ones, and for sure AVs are one of these technologies. IEEE reported to CNN that the biggest barrier to pervasive adoption of driverless cars may have nothing to do with technology but will be general public acceptance. While the average driver may grasp the basic benefits of autonomous cars—increased fuel efficiency and safety, along with a reduction in traffic—it may not be enough to get them to let go of the steering wheel”.

In 2015, Sivak and Schoettle found that there are many factors which contribute to accidents and the contribution of these factors will change with the introduction of AVs. For example, while some vehicle failure might become obsolete, some other failures will show up. Lighting failure might become obsolete as vehicles will not depend on the visual input, but this might be a problem during the transition period when both conventional and autonomous vehicles share the same roads, as human drivers might not be able to see the vehicles ahead.

Public Perception of AVs’ Safety and Trust in AVs

Social acceptance is the main key for the success of any new technology. Accidents of AVs might have an influence on the public acceptance, especially it was found that some people cannot trust machines. This subsection shed light on the public perception of the safety of AVs and the level of trust in AVs. One survey study by Casley et al. was conducted in the US with 467 respondents and with the aim of understanding the impact of three factors on the public acceptance of AVs. These three factors are the safety of the system, the cost of the technology, and the liability issue.

The following bullets are the main questions asked in the survey and their results:

Respondents were asked to rank the importance of safety, costs, and laws on their perception of AVs. 82% of the respondents ranked safety as the most important aspect in order to adopt AVs, 12% believe that laws are the most important aspect, and 6% choose costs. These results show that safety is a top priority for people and illustrate that people will not adopt AVs until they make sure that this new technology is safe. Additionally, laws are ranked as the second factor that influences the public acceptance towards AVs.

Respondents were asked if they trust an autonomous system and if they believe that the autonomous system can drive better than a normal human driver. 74% of the respondents do not trust AVs nor believe AVs can perform better than a normal driver, while 26% of the respondents do.

Respondents were asked if they have concerns regarding the AV system. Respondents were very concerned about the safety aspects of the AV system that only 6.9% of the respondents have no concerns regarding the AV system. On the other hand, 74% of the respondents believe that AVs would be prone to malfunction, 57% of the respondents were concerned about the system’s poor awareness of its surrounding environment, 52% were concerned about programming issues, and 50% were concerned about the poor control of the system such as braking and steering.

Respondents were asked “How many years after the technology is introduced to the market would you feel comfortable purchasing a car with an autonomous driving system?” 4.4 responded they will consider purchasing AVs immediately, 7.7% would feel comfortable using AVs after a year, 25.9% would feel comfortable using AVs in 1–2 years, 31.6% would feel comfortable in 3–4 years, and 30.5% would feel comfortable in more than 4 years. These results can translate the trust issue as most people (62.5%) prefer to wait more than two years before considering AVs. Probably, the rationality behind this is that people do not trust new technologies at early stages especially if these technologies will affect their own safety and lives. Generally, any new technology is not totally perfect and include some faults. Thus, people prefer to wait until the maturation of this technology before adopting it.

Another survey in Austin, US shed light on the trust issue in AVs’ technology. During this survey, respondents were asked to choose the reasons that discourage them from adopting AVs. 41% of the respondents stated that they will not consider AVs because of the lack of trust in the technology, 24% stated they will not consider AVs because of their concerns about the safety of this new system, and 22% will not consider AVs because of the high costs. Results of this survey show that both safety and lack of trust in AVs are the main obstacles that prevent people from adopting AVs.

On a third international survey by Rezaei, and Caulfield, people were not likely to believe in the safety and security of AVs’ operation. Results show that 44% of the respondents do not believe that AVs are safer than a normal human driver, while 25% believe AVs are safer. Additionally, 66% of respondents responded that they will not feel safe if the vehicle does not have a steering wheel, while only 14% have no problem if the vehicle does not have a steering wheel, which in turn indicates that a large proportion of people do not trust the system. Finally, respondents were asked whether they are willing to adapt AVs once they are available or wait to see the opinion of the early adopters. Results show that only 13% will adapt AVs once they are in the market, and 87% of the respondents will wait to see the opinion of the early adaptors.

(Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s43681-021-00041-8)

Autonomous Vehicle in India

Making a self-driving car in India requires several million km of real-world data, based on which an algorithm suited to Indian driving conditions can be created. At present no Indian automaker has announced plans of deploying AI tech anytime soon.

Safety features are an important prerequisite for automotive customers across the world. Governments across the world have mandated the incorporation of features such as lane departure warning (LDW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) paving way for new technologies and self-driving cars. Different types of safety features have, therefore, been developed to assist drivers and lower the number of accidents. It is expected that the emergence of robo-taxis will be one of the key revenue-generating segment for self-driving cars.

“But Still Driving This Dream Seems Many Milestones Away, Though With Rapid Technological & Policies Purview and True Awareness; It May Be the Backseat Where the Driver Can Be Found Soon”.