Mirrors, Horns, Even Steering Wheels May Go the Way of the Dinosaur | Edmunds

Mirrors, Horns, Even Steering Wheels May Go the Way of the Dinosaur


Just the Facts:
  • The car of the future may be missing some familiar equipment, including mirrors, horns, emergency brakes, control pedals and even steering wheels, according to a new study.
  • Survey respondents believe that by 2035 all 50 U.S. states will have passed legislation allowing autonomous vehicles on the road.
  • The survey from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers looked at the future of autonomous vehicles, including anticipated features and impediments to mass acceptance.

NEW YORK — The car of the future may be missing some familiar equipment, including mirrors, horns, emergency brakes, control pedals and even steering wheels, according to a new survey.

That's the word from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which conducted a survey of more than 200 industry experts, both via email and among attendees at its recent Intelligent Vehicle Symposium.

The survey was intended to gather informed opinion about the future of autonomous vehicles, including essential technologies, anticipated features and impediments to mass acceptance.

Respondents to the survey believe the technical advances that will be most instrumental in furthering the development of driverless vehicles will be in the areas of sensor technology, software, driver-assist features and GPS (global positioning systems).

On the other hand, according to IEEE, as more autonomous features are incorporated into cars, they can do without some of the equipment that is commonplace today.

When asked which currently familiar items we can expect to be removed from future vehicles, the experts thought rearview mirrors, horns and emergency brakes are likely to disappear by 2030, while steering wheels and control pedals should be gone by 2035.

By that time, they say, all 50 U.S. states will have passed legislation allowing autonomous vehicles on the road.

When asked to rank possible impediments to the mass adoption of driverless cars, respondents said the biggest roadblocks will be legal liability, policymakers and consumer acceptance, while the least problematic are expected to be cost, infrastructure and technology.

"We've seen incredible growth in the driverless vehicle industry over the past few years, both in technological advancement and manufacturer acceptance, that has dramatically affected the consumer adoption timetable," stated IEEE Fellow Alberto Broggi, professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma in Italy. "The scientific community and car manufacturers have been working together to incrementally include autonomous features in modern-day cars, with the intention of producing driverless vehicles in the near future. For mass adoption, it's important that we begin trusting this technology."

Edmunds says: Trust is one thing, but eliminating the steering wheel may be a bit much for many drivers.

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