Driverless cars are won’t be around until 2030, according to an expert from Honda who has been working on the technology since 1986.
The Herald Sun newspaper in Australia quotes Yoichi Sugimoto, who says it will be “at least” 2030 before a car can completely drive itself.
“Today we cannot say the actual timeline for fully automated driving,” he said, “Personally I think it’s not before 2030.”
The paper quotes him as saying driverless cars face many hurdles: “Technical issues, regulation issues and public acceptance. We are just starting to learn about those kind of issues.”
Sugimoto says there are still too many variables — such as weather, pedestrians, cyclists and even animals that can run onto the road — and not enough computing power to process all the information fast enough, and then make the correct decision.
He said the challenges for autonomous cars included simply being able to drive at night; the resolution of the cameras is currently not high enough to match the human eye.
It’s also difficult for computers to predict random behaviour on the road, such as “some animals jumping into your lane”.
“In Australia, maybe a kangaroo; there are many deer in Japan and the United States,” says Sugimoto.
“In Asian countries there are many pedestrians and bicycles on the side of the road. So many unpredictable things happen.”
The report concludes by saying that in the meantime, Honda is working on the same driving aids as the rest of the car industry: on-ramp to off-ramp and traffic jam assistance.