IntechOpen Publishing, London, 2020
Efforts are being made, globally by policymakers and leaders, to make the world we live in more efficient, in every part of life, by introducing smart systems under the concept of Smart cities. Autonomous transport and cars are also an important part of those approaches.
There are 6 levels of automation for transport as defined by SAE International and J3016 in 2014. Level 0 means no automation whatsoever and level 5 defines fully autonomous vehicles that require no human input at all. These levels are further explained in the table below.
The introduction of autonomous vehicles, level 5, will not only make our everyday traveling much safer but it will also help us in curbing pollution and traffic congestion while adding more value to our travels by allowing us to increase our productivity during our travels. The increase in the use of autonomous vehicles will also help in the elimination of human error thus decreasing traffic accidents due to reckless driving and lack of attention. Self-driving vehicles will also enable mobility for those who for different either are not allowed to or cannot drive a car. It will increase their life quality by allowing them faster access to their daily routines without depending on a driver. Since autonomous vehicles technology will be based on electricity, therefore, it will help in limiting the pollution caused by vehicles. It may also introduce a concept of ride-sharing, or shared vehicle, where one vehicle can be used by more than 1 person at the same time.
Of course, certain things need to be taken care of in order to sustain the aforementioned benefits of autonomous vehicles. For example,
· It seems highly impossible at the beginning for all the vehicles on the road to be at level 5 of automation. They will be faced to share the road with the vehicles which will have lower levels of automation.
· Another thing will be the security of those vehicles. There is a risk of those vehicles being hacked and manipulated for malicious activity. This is something that needs to be managed very carefully.
· Although the autonomous driving technology will most likely be based on electricity which will make it environment-friendly still it will not help in eliminating the pollution as fossil fuels are still a major resource for generating electricity.
· The use of sophisticated technologies in the vehicle will require expertise during the repair process and hence it will be much costly to repair in case of a breakdown.
There is no doubt that autonomous transport will be an essential part of the future smart city concept’s implementation. To this end, Policymakers and professionals have a major role to play in the successful development and implementation of autonomous vehicle concepts.