Expert Blog

The Inside Track, V9

20161031_The Inside Track, V9

Here at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, we’re so enthusiastic about the future of motoring that we spend each month scouring the Internet for articles about electric and autonomous vehicle technology that you might have missed.

Here’s our reading list for the past month:

  • As so often when it comes to tech, California appears to be leading the way. Reuters reports that the state’s government has developed new draft regulations for autonomous cars – and they contain quite a significant change. For the first time, the law will allow autonomous cars on the road without anyone in the driving seat. This isn’t just a bold step in itself, it also sets an example that other legislators around the world might choose to follow.
  • Talking of legislators, they don’t come any bigger than Barack Obama. The President guest-edited the latest edition of Wired, and discussed various tech developments in a series of special videos for the magazine. One of these was autonomous motoring. Obama was excited about the benefits it might bring, but he raised an important question: ‘How do we make the public comfortable with it?’ Again, as California is discovering, it’s about more than just the technology. There are wider practical and cultural issues to be considered too.
  • Wired also devoted time to the question of how autonomous cars will change our cities. They asked eight experts for their answers. It’s worth reading the full list here, but we were particularly struck by Brooks Rainwater’s observation that ‘Through technology you can get to a point where you no longer need traffic lights or clear distinctions between roads and sidewalks.’ It’s clear that these changes won’t only apply to motorists – the experience of being a pedestrian will be very different too.
  • Autonomous motoring isn’t just for the future. It can deliver your beers today! The New York Times reports that a lorry developed by Otto, a company owned by Uber, managed to drive 120 miles by itself whilst delivering 2,000 cases of Budweiser to Colorado Springs. Sometimes you need to sit back and marvel: autonomous driving was just a fantasy a few years ago, and now it’s actually happening.
  • Amid all these developments, it’s worth remembering that the best solutions can be simple analogue ones. Upworthy explains how Dutch motorists are avoiding hitting cyclists with their car doors, all by a simple behavioural change. Instead of opening the door with the hand closest to it, they reach over themselves with the other hand, thereby looking out into the road naturally. It’s called the ‘Dutch Reach’, and you can see it in action here.

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