Tag Archives: autonomous

317 – Digital Transportation

In last week’s blog post, I discussed how Amazon is impacting markets through digital transformation. Their easy online services and innovative technologies, including Amazon Go, make it difficult for large department and grocery stores to compete. However, there is one market Amazon has left untouched, and that is the transportation market.

Over the past few decades, transportation has become much more advanced. New technology has brought new ideas to the market, and companies implementing these new ideas are the ones coming out ahead. One of the major new players to make a splash in the automotive market is Tesla, and their development of high-performing autonomous vehicles is one ought to pay attention to.

Tesla is America’s top Electric Car company creating disruption in the automotive market. In recent years, car companies have adopted Tesla’s innovative ideas to create green and autonomous vehicles. The shift from gas to electric is basic, but developing brand new technologies for cars is more complex and challenging to work with. Therefore, car companies are forced to make a leap of death in order to compete: either roll out autonomous vehicles or go bankrupt trying. However, this technology will not come without controversy.

There are many reasons why autonomous driving is disruptive, minus the fact that it will take over millions of driving jobs. Overlooked problems of autonomous driving are the accidents that take place on the road. What if two autonomous vehicles get into an accident? Who is liable when neither person had control of the car? These are issues that need to be addressed legally.

Another problem with autonomous driving is that many people are going to want to take a nap when they hit the road, and that just cannot happen. Tesla has technology that can detect whether the driver is asleep behind the wheel or not, so no one can drive with both eyes closed. I do not see this feature going away anytime soon, and I hope legislation does not change that.

Finally, the last problem I see with the brand new vehicles coming out is the WiFi feature. I really do not think it is smart to put a ton of wireless access points in cars when it is really easy to hack into them. I saw this video below some time ago, how a few hackers were able to control a person’s vehicle while in use through WiFi connection.

This must be prevented from becoming a common occurrence.

There is missing legislation in regards to autonomous vehicles, and many hiccups will come with drafting this legislation. Will it be ethical for there to be autonomous taxis in a world where you cannot fall asleep behind one (an autonomous vehicle)? Should steps be taken to limit the power of autonomous vehicles? Questions like these will all have to be answered in time, but should be answered sooner rather than later. Before we eliminate manuals and automatics, we need to understand autonomous first.

Will Automated Vehicles Change the World?

In a world that is defined by one constant: change, one single technology being called “ the most influential technology in the past century” is a bold statement that people cannot ignore any longer. But is this truly a technology which will revolutionize the way in which we see our world? Is this really the aforementioned “most influential technology in the past century”? As we’ve covered previously, car manufacturing and transportation, two of the sectors that people are perhaps most familiar with and can relate to will experience massive changes that will effect not only the people in the industry, but also the world at large. And yet, the positive aspects of this technology are immeasurable. Looking at the U.S. transportation system current day, once a person is 17 they are flung into the traffic and daily struggles of navigating on some of the most dangerous roadways. Now stop and think for a second as the future of driving will be changed with upgrades to the standard vehicle today: Roads will be safer, traffic could be eliminated, and “passengers” (anyone in an automated vehicle) will experience an increase in the amount of free time they have due to shorter rides. 

We can see one very apt comparison can be made when buildings first adopted fully automatic elevators. There was a similar reaction made by many people back then akin to the reaction people have when talking about automated vehicles today.  Many felt uncomfortable to be in an elevator that was automatic, these people longed for an operator in the elevator to make sure they could get to their floor safely because they simply did not trust the new technology. Current-day generations unsurprisingly take this technology for granted because they never experienced a time where there was not automated elevators. Is this starting to sound familiar? It should. Just how the idea of automated vehicles driving around and having free reign on the road is a scary thought for so many people today, so too was the idea of elevators working on their own in the past. So then, will automated vehicles one day be as simple and regular as automatic elevators? We’ve all seen videos online like this one involving young children who display a familiarity and enjoyment in using an iPad, so in that same vein will these self-driving cars become the new iPad or automated elevator? A tool that newer generations will accept much more easily than those who live through the transition? I’d like to think that as the technology advances, and the world gets more and more exposure to autonomous vehicles it will become a banal normality to no longer drive your vehicles any longer. The common person will have to become comfortable with the fact that their cars were pre-programmed and they do not have complete control in decision making.

Perhaps contrasting the final point regarding a loss of control in the previous paragraph, another angle to self-driving cars is to think about the amount of companies that will grow and prosper making their living off of the rise of this technology. Not only that, we must also try to observe and understand the amount of change that will be brought on not only on a personal level by automated vehicles but also for city planning and other logistical endeavors. This article does an extraordinary job looking at the different ways in different approaches to automated vehicles will have different results for society as a whole. For example, Uber has already taken over Pittsburgh with their autonomous fleet as we’ve discussed previously. However, this is just one of the three options currently being talked about for the future of autonomous vehicles. The first option is private ownership, which is perhaps the most well known category. We see this already with the current state of our transportation system using buses, trains, etc. to move people from point A to point B that are all owned by companies. Another option is buying into companies and “renting” cars from Tesla, Google, or Ford. This means that after paying a fee to a specific company whenever a car is needed you would simply call for it and they would send a car. The last option is a bit similar to the last but for key reasons is the favorite of urban planners because it will eliminate the most cars: a shared fleets of cars. Acting like Uber Pools or a taxi, a car would pick up a group of people all heading to the same location and would drop them off and then when a car is needed again, another one can just be called. The key difference here is that these pools would be owned by the government much like buses or trains and not require fees be paid to a company for the service.

Now there is currently a three-era breakdown of the installation of fully functioning autonomous vehicles that starts at 2015, goes to 2020, and finally stops at 2050. The first era as most of you may already know has already started: automated vehicles are already a reality and being tested in fleets across the world like in Singapore and Pittsburgh. Couple this with the fact that there are now emerging models and technologies that are being created and released and that testing has been ramped up especially in a state like California and you get a formula that is set for mass amounts of innovation in a very quick time span. Tesla is one of the best examples of this with their release of Autopilot 2.0. The next era is set to begin in 2020 and end in 2030: this era will be marked by the insurance companies no longer covering an individual driver, but rather now covering companies due in large part to private ownership becoming a thing of the past, causing companies to own the cars and rent out their vehicles to citizens in the country. Along those lines, since the driver will have no longer have liability of any decision that the car makes the insurance must also insure that the technologies controlling the vehicles is for lack of a better word, bulletproof. Finally, the years from 2030 to 2050 are forecasted to be when automated vehicles are predicted to become the primary means of transportation. The most important milestone reached in this era will be that vehicle crashes will fall 90%, saving billions of dollars per year and making the roads a safer place for all drivers. This will then lead to the redesigning of major cities and towns as we know; as an example, with cars constantly coming and going parking spots can be replaced or removed. Today, cars are parked 95% of the day which will be dramatically decreased to a mere 40-50%. The extra space can lead to further innovation of new technology in now available space. Right now it may be hard to fathom of a world where the drivers will no longer be driving but rather passengers in their own car however once the world has become fully comfortable with this idea, look out for the rapid of advancements of this great technology. The world of tomorrow will undoubtedly become more efficient and roads will look dramatically different than they do present day.

Yielding to the Wealth Gap

As our society draws closer and closer to a world with autonomous vehicles there is always a bit of uncertainty as to what the future will hold. What changes will be made to the roads of our world? How will these vehicles function? etc. But there is one question that perhaps isn’t receiving the amount of attention it should be: who will be driving these cars? Certainly we can expect that car manufacturers will not be standing on street corners handing out keys to their newest and fanciest autonomous cars with no concern for profits or the like. So we must now ask ourselves this: will the people who absolutely need this technology be the ones to get it? Before we go on please take a a few minutes and watch the video below to understand just what I mean when I say that.

As we see in the video these cars can undoubtedly have an amazing effect on the lives of people from all walks of life. From erasing the gap of mobility and ease of travel between drivers today and those who are disabled, to significantly reducing the amount of crashes and accidents as we’ve covered previously it is clear that automated vehicles will have an immeasurable impact on the quality of life of everybody in the United States and beyond. Knowing that, it would seem only logical that the government or car manufacturers at the very least take steps to ensure this technology gets in the hands of everyone – one safer driver means a whole safer road in general after all. But yet this is the area of automated vehicles that gets a little complicated because as we all know, technology is expensive – even technology that has been around already for years (looking at you, new Macbook Pro). So what then do we do? Do we have an obligation as a society to ensure that everyone who needs an automated vehicle gets one? And if so how do we finance such an endeavor?

Looking just at the data, in 2014 the average American spent around $30,000 on a new car. For reference, the Toyota Prius in the video above starts at a price of $20,806 and while on the surface it would seem that the average American would be able to afford this vehicle this is before any of the new automation technology is taken into account. Looking at the technology we’ll start with the addition of Velodyne LIDAR system which is the main operating system for the vehicle; add to that the visual and radar sensors for the vehicle and the cost for that alone comes to about $10,000. Moving on from that there is also the GPS array which is needed to keep the automated vehicles running that clocks in at a cool $200,000. So just looking at this from an extremely shallow perspective, the Toyota Prius that was featured in the above video costs nearly $320,000; more expensive than a Ferrari 599. It should go without saying that as of right now this does not bode well for the future of affordable self-driving cars as with the high costs of the new technologies your average American will not be able to afford one of these vehicles.

However, all is not lost as with advancing technology also comes cheaper alternatives to the technology in an attempt to stay competitive.  Today, instead of Toyota rolling out a new fully automated Prius and adding nearly $300,000 to the price tag they are instead opting to add only around $7,000-$10,000 to price tag in exchange for having the new Prius instead be a semi-autonomous vehicle. With these minor adjustments and technology prices decreasing eventually over time it is predicted that by 2035 automating a vehicle will only increase the price of the car by $3,000. Currently and perhaps unsurprisingly it appears that automotive companies have a bit of an advantage with rolling out these cars quickly as industry giant Google continues to hold that they still are operating under the model that their fully automated vehicles will not available for sale until the five to ten years. Looking at the landscape of autonomous vehicles today it is not an unreasonable expectation that most of the country will have the opportunity to buy a fully autonomous vehicle soon. However we must be mindful that having the opportunity and being able to are two very different things, and that even as prices drop in some areas there will still be people left behind as a result of lacking the money to advance into the automated age with everyone else. Today I leave you with a video posted below; a recent publicity stunt from Budweiser involving an automated beer truck driving around on a highway – let it serve to remind us that for as amazing and cool as this technology is lets not break out the beer and celebrate before the people who really need it, the Steve Mahan’s of the world, get it.

Automated Vehicles: Questionable Ethics

Ethics is hardly, if ever, the starting point of a conversation about automated vehicles. The truth is that in the world of automated vehicles ethics can be something that is often overlooked or forgotten about entirely, seemingly taking a backseat in discussion. In this blog post however I hope to rectify this immediately because after reading an article last week, ethics in autonomous vehicles have been the only topics that I have been researching. Pulling no punches, the article in question looks at Mercedes-Benz  as the first car manufacturer to release their software information and brings up a rather blunt initial question: in the event of a unavoidable crash would you want your new self-driving vehicle to prioritize your own life as the owner of the vehicle or the lives of several innocent children? In so many words the scenario is broached like this: suppose you were in an autonomous vehicle and a car was on the wrong side of the road. The software driving the car now has a decision to make: it can either swerve left into oncoming traffic, putting you in immediate danger or, option two, swerve the car to the right onto the sidewalk and potentially harm a group of children walking home from school. The decision is not an easy one, nor is it one to be made lightly.

Regardless, as per the article Mercedes has now given their answer to this question: they will swerve to the right and run over the group the children on their way home from school. Now to some people this may be the clear decision to make in this situation but some may still be wondering exactly why Mercedes has gone in this direction when programming the software for their autonomous vehicles. To help understand we will take a look at a moral issue very closely associated with this dilemma, the “Trolley Problem. The Trolley Problem is a thought experiment developed by Philippa Foot in 1967 which involved a trolley coming down a road where men were currently working. If the trolley stays straight on its current path, it will kill five people on the tracks, however if you switch a lever, the trolley will instead go down a different path only killing one person. The main question raised is obvious: what is the right decision to make in this situation? This has been the moral dilemma as we’ve understood it for many decades, however now car manufacturers have to address this issue with a whole new layer of complexity added to the equation. Below this paragraph I’ve included a video to help explain the idea of this problem before we go any farther to help clarify any questions you may have. 

As I’m sure most of you could probably have concluded by now, in the real world of self-driving cars this problem is more than just an ethical dilemma, it’s a PR bomb waiting to go off. Just think about the car companies that will soon be designing and programming the new autonomous vehicles of the future and which car you would rather drive, the one that prioritized your own personal safety at all times or the one that prioritized others before you; I know which I’d rather drive. The fact of the matter is that if Mercedes-Benz (or any other automotive company for that matter) prides themselves on customer satisfaction it would make absolutely no sense to have cars programmed not to prioritize customer safety. Essentially, (under the assumption that there would still be automotive accidents) Mercedes-Benz would effectively be designing “death cars” in the eyes of their customers, not a very good business strategy at all. Looking at another article similar questions are brought up revolving around the difference between a car and a motorcycle: is it better to hit a car or a motorcycle in this situation? The unfortunate fact is that all this is a catch 22 situation, not helped by the fact that right now there is no law in place to lead the car manufacturers and developers in the legally “right” direction. Therefore, there is no question that it makes the most sense that the manufacturers are taking the Mercedes-Benz approach and developing with the customer in mind. What are your thoughts on this situation? Should automotive companies be taking this kind of approach in the future or is there perhaps a better solution?

Automated Vehicles: Here & Now

Science fiction has always been an extremely popular genre whether in movies, in television, or in novels. Indeed, it is a fascination fueled by the innate imagination inside of every human being – the ability to dream endlessly about what the future may hold. However, as many sci-fi fans may tell you such fantasies usually stay as just that, a fantasy, as is the case of lightsabers from Star Wars, or The Starship Enterprise from Star Trek. But today the world is bearing witness to perhaps one of the greatest exceptions to this rule: automated vehicles. Posted below this paragraph is a video that details a brief history of the idea of automated vehicles for the first few minutes of the video’s run time. In the video the narrator explains not only have automated vehicles been around in some form for longer than most people would suspect, but also that the idea originated in a 1929 sci-fi magazine. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the future and we get to be a part of it here and now.

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But now that we’ve succeed in merging one of the coolest ideas of science fiction into the real world, just what exactly are we doing with autonomous vehicles current day? Today’s post aims to take a shorter term approach and dig deep into what this technology is doing for us not in the future, but current day.

To start off, Tesla has been on the forefront of innovation since their insertion into the auto industry in 2003. Currently they are best known for their semi-automatic vehicles on the road that are impressive not only from a technological standpoint, but also for the fact that they are electric. The main driving force of Tesla is the CEO, Elon Musk, who can be frequently seen on social media and in various other meetings and talks supporting the progression of autonomous vehicles. The company constantly updates the software that goes into their cars, and are now soon to release their first autopilot software to be installed into their newer model cars. Musk was quoted in August as saying “What we’ve got will blow people’s minds, it blows my mind …it’ll come sooner than people think.” In connection with this, Bosch, the leading distributor of car parts has just released their first self driving vehicle. This is a huge step for Tesla because the software being used in the Bosch’s vehicle will be the same software in Tesla’s Autopilot 2.0. To help understand just how big a leap this is, a level system is used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when describing how autonomous certain vehicles are. Currently Tesla’s cars are at a level 2 autonomy, however these cars coming from Bosch rank higher at level 4 autonomy (fully functioning autonomous vehicle) thanks to the autopilot program that is soon to be released. The reason Tesla is now using the Bosch technology is because of an accident that occurred with one of their semi-autonomous in Florida because of a “technical failure” when the vehicle’s sensor could not recognize a tractor trailer due to it blending in with the glare of the sun. Due to the crash, Moblieye, an auto tech supplier left the company, so Tesla turned to Bosch. Despite this setback the world is still eagerly awaiting the next big piece of news to come from Tesla in the future.

The next company to look at is Ford, a longstanding and popular motor company that created the “first affordable automobile” the Model-T. However, that small 1927 revolution is nothing compared to what Ford is planning on releasing in 2021 as heard from CEO Mark Fields when he made the announcement on August 16th that Ford will release a level 4 autonomous vehicle. As the level system from the NHTSA above tells us, this is final level of autonomy which requires absolutely no human interaction. Interestingly, Ford also announced that this first new vehicle would not have steering wheels or control pads. Further, in 2021 Ford will not be selling the cars to the public but rather using the vehicles as a shuttle for their own employees. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of this announcement from Ford is that they are skipping levels of autonomy and opting instead to release a vehicle which is fully autonomous. While some companies like Tesla, Google, and Uber are taking a more comprehensive approach with street testing and semi-autonomous vehicles first to move the software along this could all change extremely quick because Ford is opting for a more immediate route. Look for Ford and other U.S. auto companies to continue innovation and progress even further.

Finally, we step away from car manufacturers and take a look at the transport company, Uber. When Uber was founded in 2009 it instantaneously become a disruptive force in the automotive industry. Taxi drivers in all cities around the country scrambled to try to keep up with the massive changes that Uber was causing. Fast forward seven years and now Uber has upped the ante with a strong push in the world of autonomous innovation. Two months ago Uber rolled out autonomous vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh. As of right now the cars unfortunately have a limited number of streets they can operate on due to programming constraints however this technology has gotten to the point where Uber drivers were only operating the vehicle close to 30% of the time on any given ride. This decision made many people wonder why Uber chose Pittsburgh for the initial testing of their automated vehicles as they are a California company and California is known as a state leading the way with laws and regulations allowing autonomous vehicles to hit the roads.  The main reason for the Pittsburgh is surprisingly simple however, Carniege Mellon University, which is home to most of the technology that is driving Uber’s advancements. Additionally, the company felt it was important to have engineers close to the vehicles just in case anything happened. Thus far there have been two conflicting reports about two incidents involving accidents occurring with the new autonomous vehicles. However, both of the accidents were human error, one being the driver went down a one-way street and the other was an Uber vehicle that got rear ended by another vehicle. The critics are trying hard to restrct Uber because right now they are the closest company to moving this technology to a national level. 

According to Reuters, various companies are just starting onto the onset of a competition between each other in the autonomous vehicle world. Indeed in terms of unlikely bedfellows , not only does Reuters have Uber slated to be Apple’s competition in the autonomous vehicle industry but they are also reporting that Google and Ford are rumored to partner in 2016 for automotive innovation. It would seem that many companies such as Google and Ford or Apple and Tesla are teaming up because while the tech and media companies have the advantage for Research and Development capabilities as well as existing computing technologies, the auto makers possess the industry expertise and facilities necessary to make the innovation a reality.  Yet, Uber is arguably well placed to be the leader in this regard as they well capitalized and Uber has already brought many changes in the taxi-driver on demand sector.  Uber is no longer simply viewed as a ridesharing app, current day it has now reached a market whereby using a smartphone to match demand and supply for automobiles efficiently and cheaper. Between Uber and Apple it would seem that Apple will need to utilize their technological capability to enter that sector in order to compete with Uber.

Meanwhile current day, Google has created a self-driving car with two routing programs, a “long term router” that acts much like the GPS device on a normal car, and another, short-term router that makes decisions on when to speed up, slow down, turn and execute other maneuvers. The self-driving car is poised to have a positive impact because there will be less accidents on the road, and as such less fatalities. At the moment, it would seem that autonomous vehicles are right around the corner waiting for the light to turn green so they can be allowed onto the streets of the United States.

Automation is Progress

When most people first consider the idea of autonomous vehicles a number of emotions seem to make themselves known very quickly in a short amount of time. As people begin to consider just how their world may be impacted by such a change they experience something very similar to the five stages of grief. First, they deny that the change is feasible, that it would happen at all seems ridiculous. Then, denial turns to anger, most notedly in those who make a living as part of the transport industry. After that comes the two stages of bargaining and depression where people begin to try to rationalize how they might perhaps manage to keep their small part of the world compartmentalized and unchanged rest of the world moves on. A frequently heard phrase at this point might be along the lines of, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it,” or, “I can’t use that, I’m not a (insert concept or object here) person!” And yet, finally (and perhaps painfully), such a person arrives at acceptance where they acknowledge that just as the world has changed yesterday, so too will it change today whether they like it or not.

But why does all this happen? Why is it that innovation consistently seems to face such rejection when it is first introduced? Well as far as autonomous vehicles go, at face value it can seem like a scary thought leaving your life in the hands of a machine and yet it turns out that these “machines” will soon be smarter than the average human, and consequently, better drivers too. While it may seem scary however it is important to notice that the incoming wave of autonomous vehicles is very beneficial to us all. Indeed, the first positive coming from AV is the elimination of human error. People are more likely to make a mistake than a programed vehicle is on any given day and practically the only time technology fails is in the event of a system failure. Today 81% of all accidents are caused by human error, therefore it is no surprise that taking away any threat of human error immediately makes the roads a safer place to be.

In addition to that, while unemployment is both a huge economical and political factor in the U.S. today that many people see autonomous vehicles further exasperating, there is evidence to show that the advent of automated vehicles may have quite the opposite effect. Looking at job creation (or perhaps what is more appropriately phrased as job shifting), Udacity, has recently teamed up with Mercedes-Benz to create a class that will teach workers to become automated vehicle engineers and technicians. The number of jobs that are going to be shifted into this field are going to be climbing dramatically for the next five years as the first AV are set to hit the streets in 2020. This may prove extremely beneficial for current laborers who will now be forced to diversify and learn some new skills. But the reward will be worth it as forecasters predict that the average AV engineer will be making well within six figures as starting pay.

The United States government has now also climbed on board of the new and growing technology, and has issued a backing for all companies to continue their divisions of AV. Further, with public safety in mind, the Department of Transportation issued a 15- point safety standard for all companies to follow. This is a huge step in the right direction because usually the law lags behind the technology, but now the government is trying to get ahead of the curve and keep the public interest in mind. Even smaller scale governments are taking notice as Summit township has teamed up with Uber and NJ Transit to start giving commuters rides to the train station in order to alleviate parking troubles. This is a glimpse into the future, and it such a innovative idea at this time because with public space shrinking, the less cars on the road the better for everyone. Not only do these ideas help the global warming conversation but also will make the commute for people less stressful and time consuming as they no longer have to worry about parking.

According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, 94 percent of road accidents were caused by mistakes of motorists, it is estimated that this percentage will drastically decrease if autonomous vehicles are introduced into the market.  Another efficient factor of autonomous vehicles besides its safety but we can expect an increase in the capacity of cars being on the road as well as a decrease in traffic jams because of the self-driving cars will have features to better manage traffic flow.  Autonomous cars will be equipped with “crash avoidance technology” which will dictate when it is safe to change lane, the feature of lane departure warnings will become mandatory on all cars, currently some cars like the Mazda has this feature.  Corporations are hoping to attract young people to use these autonomous vehicles especially because they will have the ability to continue texting and remaining actively connected to the internet.  According to the Google Study the driverless cars also proved to be better at keeping a safe distance between vehicles than human drivers could. An autonomous car would be efficient when it comes to having mobility for those who don’t know how to drive.  This will provide independent mobility for non-drivers, elderly and disabled.   

Autonomous cars not only will offer an improved traffic flow, but cars will be able to drive closer together, cars will be made lighter since the risk of crashing has diminished.  Looking for parking spaces becomes a lesser of a concern, you don’t have to circle looking for one any longer.  These driverless cars offer motorists the opportunity to work, relax, and conduct meetings in the car.  People would opt to use the autonomous car to make long road trips instead of using other means of transportation.  People that would not have been able to drive human piloted cars, who do not know the language, the sixteen year old that needs a ride from after-school activities to home will be able to utilize these cars will be able to take advantage of this new technology.

In addition to all this there is another, perhaps overlooked benefit of automated vehicles: the removal of personal vehicles. On its face the idea of losing access to one’s personal vehicles sounds more like a punishment along the lines of getting your driver’s license revoked, and less like a benefit. After all, if a man’s house is his castle than is his car not his mighty steed? However if people put their personal feelings aside and look at this situation from a more analytical perspective, it becomes clear what makes the most sense in this situation. Perhaps surprisingly, when analyzing the concepts and facts behind a move away from personal to automated vehicles it makes absolutely perfect sense for both governments, companies, and individuals to phase out personal cars, both for the sake of finance and for the sake of convenience.

First and foremost, from a financial perspective automated vehicles look extremely appealing. As the Huffington Post points out currently the average American spends, “over $2,000 per year just to fill up the (gas) tank.” Further, factoring in other expenses such as maintenance and cleaning on top of the money spent on gas, AAA estimates that “the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle” is now “$8,698” or in other terms, “a driver can expect to spend 58 cents for each mile driven, nearly $725 per month, to cover the fixed and variable costs associated with owning and operating a car in 2015.” Already it becomes obvious exactly just how much of an investment a car can be without even factoring in the cost of purchasing or leasing a vehicle. With the advent of automated vehicle technology the potential exists to completely replace the whole concept of buying a car, completely taking that cost off the average citizen’s bill. In the end, what this kind of innovation means for us is that autonomous cars will be safer, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient than a motorist driven car.