Ready or not, here comes self-driving vehicles

We take a look at the truth behind some myths about autonomous cars.

The future is here.

Self-driving car technology is already on our roads and you might not even know it.  So, what are some of your concerns?

10News is addressing fact versus fiction when it comes to autonomous vehicles.

Fact or Fiction: it will take forever for the technology to be on the road.

Fiction. It’s already on the road, partially. Let’s break it down to you this way. In the automotive world, there’s five levels on self-driving.

  1. Level 1: Basic features in most cars like cruise control and steering assistance.
  2. Level 2: Features systems that can control steering and speed at the same time.
  3. Level 3: Yes, you still need to drive. But, you get critical safety functions and some autonomy. The car will ask the driver to intervene if the self-driving system fails.
  4. Level 4: Here’s where you get to full autonomy. The car can drive you from point a to b, but it might need your help in certain circumstances.
  5. Level 5: You won’t even need a person in the driver seat.

“Right now, I think the most advanced is probably Tesla. They Publicus Group. He’s trying to help revolutionize Tampa with autonomous vehicles. have about a level 2 and they would call it an assisted driving package,” said Cesar Hernandez. He is a former HART employee, who branched out on his own and started The

“There was an opportunity to pull together a fantastic team and partner up with some fantastic companies to be able to deploy their ideas and concepts into Tampa Bay,” he said.

Fact or Fiction: it costs a lot to get cars with autonomous features.

Depends on what you consider a lot of money, but right now this is true.

Tesla’s cheapest model is above $70,000. However, there are much cheaper brands coming out with autonomous features, such as autopilot in stop and go traffic. But, hey, you might not even need to buy a car in the future.

“People will go from having three cars to two cars to one car to just having an app,” said state Senator Jeff Brandes, a St. Pete republican. He’s a large proponent of self-driving vehicles.

“Imagine Uber without a driver that costs 50 to 20 cents a mile and that’s a bundled mile that includes your insurance, it includes the maintenance, it includes the electricity.”

Fact or Fiction: they can’t be trusted.

We can’t label this fact or fiction, but the safety concerns are valid. Driving in autopilot will put your life in the hands of a robot.

There have been crashes, including one last year when a man died while on autopilot in his Tesla. Blame was put on both the driver and the vehicle.

But, you can’t deny the fact that self-driving technology could possibly save thousands of lives each year. Autonomous features out now are increasing safety and full autonomy could drastically lower traffic deaths.

“I don’t think we are going to put this technology on the road until it’s at least as good as a human driver and then it’s going to be twice as good as a human driver and five times as good a driver,” Brandes said.

Fact or fiction: the technology cost many people their jobs.

Unfortunately, yes. Sooner than later, trucks carrying cargo across the country will drive themselves. Trucking is one of the best paid jobs you could have without a college degree.

This could also put a huge dent in local government’s bank accounts and cause layoffs.

“We become much more efficient, it frees up capital, but then you displace a workforce and these are the challenges that we are being faced with,” Hernandez added.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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