Self-Driving Cars to Account for 75% of Traffic by 2040, Says IEEE

    September 19, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Despite the concerns of old people in Florida, it’s apparent that driverless technology is the future. Google, of course, is furiously working on developing road-ready self-driving cars, and they are hardly the only ones.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) thinks that we are close to roadways dominated by the technology. In fact, they predict that self-driving cars will make up 75% of all cars on the road in less than thirty years.

“With any form of intelligent transportation, building the infrastructure to accommodate it is often the largest barrier to widespread adoption,” said Dr. Alberto Broggi, IEEE Senior Member and professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Parma in Italy. “Since we can use the existing networks of roadways, autonomous vehicles are advantageous for changing how the majority of the world will travel on a daily basis.”

The IEEE also envisions a world without traffic lights, stop signs, or any other visible signals. Their driverless landscape involves ““Intersections equipped with sensors, cameras and radars that can monitor and control traffic flow to help eliminate driver collisions and promote a more efficient flow of traffic.” You’ll still be waiting at “red lights,” in theory, but without the actual red light.

This would help increase traffic flow and reduce jams, according to the IEEE. They envisions separate lanes for traditional and automated cars. ““Through use of dedicated lanes on the highway, it will provide more streamlined flows of traffic, which will make the transportation with these vehicles more energy efficient,” says Dr. Azim Eskandarian of the IEEE.

If 75% of all cars on the raod will be automated by 2040, that means that 75% of the population would have to own their own (personal or household), right? Not exactly, according to the IEEE. As driverless technology permeates the culture, car-sharing programs will make it easy for people to use a self-driving car, and then leave it to go transport someone else to their destination. Basically, automated taxis.

Thrilling stuff, in my book. I’d love to get some light reading done while on my way to work. Hey, maybe I could even have a drink (just kidding, kind of). The technology has a ways to come before it’s ready to become this mainstream, but Google has logged over 300,000 miles with its driverless fleet. And Toyota, BMW, and Audi have all presented concepts or actually tested the tech on their cars. Plus, you have universities like Stanford testing high-speed varieties of autonomous vehicles.

On the regulation side, driverless technology continues to clear hurdles in states like California and Nevada.

“Over the next 28 years, use of more automated technologies will spark a snowball effect of acceptance and driverless vehicles will dominate the road,” says Jeffrey Miller of the IEEE. Let’s hope that people are willing to sit back and let the robots do the work.

  • http://www.goodwincardetailing.co.uk Richard

    I am fascinated by the car industry and technology but I cant see the modern day car enthusiast have the pleasure of driving being taken anyway by a computer. in major city’s and motorway, freeways, i can see it being a major enhancement to daily life, less polution as cars will be closer rid smoother and the stop start will be less. Motorways will have fewer accidents if any, so will safe lives. But other all life will be less exciting. We will get in the car and sit, then get out and sit at a desk.

    • Uncle Fred

      Cars for driving will probably still exist as legacy models, slowly being phased out with newer automated versions.

      Eventually, these systems will be so perfected that safety regulations might mandate auto-driving systems for all public roads.

      You will probably still be able to drive vehicles on race tracks.

  • John Bredin

    If a ghee-nius engineer “envisions a world without traffic lights, stop signs, or any other visible signals,” how does he envision a pedestrian — remember those? — knowing when the traffic has a virtual stop signal so he/she has the right-of-way to cross?!

    • Uncle Fred

      Pedestrian sinage may still exist, at least for a long time. This might take the form of OLED light strips.

      Eventually, AR augmentation in glasses and even neural optics will allow for a virtual overlay. You’re brain will communicate with the transportation system and a signal to brain (represented in your visual cortex) will appear , indicating you can cross.

      This last part is decades off. Traffic signals will likely remain in place for a long time, perhaps into the 22nd century in some cases.