Late for the autonomous cars

News 13 February, 2018
  • Photo courtesy GM
    General Motors intends to market a car without a steering wheel or pedals as early as next year in the United States.

    Simon-Pier Ouellet

    Tuesday, 13 February, 2018 01:00

    Tuesday, 13 February, 2018 01:00

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    The cities of Quebec are lagging in the deployment of autonomous cars, which could have an impact on motor vehicle safety.

    Almost all car manufacturers on the planet have the intention to launch a car completely autonomous within three years. General Motors has announced the construction in series of a car without a steering wheel or pedals as early as 2019 to make robots taxis.

    Yet, the cities in Quebec have not yet authorized the traffic of the autonomous cars on their territory, unlike Ontario, where autonomous cars with a driver plying the streets of Toronto for 2016.

    Difficult to catch up

    Ontario has even announced that autonomous cars without a driver could be permitted soon.

    The delay of Québec will be difficult to fill, because for this technological revolution to be effective, all the cities and their characteristics should be charted in the software used by the autonomous cars.

    The ultimate goal is to make the roads much safer, while 94 % of accidents are caused by the human factor.

    “In the beginning, there will be a cohabitation between autonomous cars and cars with driver. But quickly, you will realize that it is irresponsible to allow humans to drive, ” says the chronicler, techno Nicolas Genest.

    Photo courtesy Nicolas Genest

    Nicolas Genest
    Columnist techno

    Montreal wants to close this gap and allow companies to test their vehicles on its territory.

    “Currently, we are putting in place pilot projects that we will soon present to the provincial government. You have to work fast and this is what we do currently, ” said Éric Alan Caldwell, head of the transport committee to the executive committee of the administration of Valérie Plant.

    To facilitate the deployment of autonomous cars, cities need to reduce the number of potholes and to maintain the lines more visible on the road, a challenge for Montreal.

    The giant Google is in the leading group to develop electric cars. In November last year, its car dubbed Waymo became the first to circulate without the presence of a driver emergency behind the wheel in the United States.

    According to the Department of motor vehicles of California, on the 560 000 kilometres travelled by cars Waymo in 2017, the intervention of a driver has been required up to 63 times.

    This means that the car has rolled on average 9000 miles without intervention.

    “The companies are very aggressive, but the reality caught up with them. There are specific times as work zones or extreme weather situations which prevent the vehicle to make decisions. This is what was lacking before the large-scale deployment, ” says the professor at the School of computer science and electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa, Robert Laganière.

    Finished science-fiction

    UBER :

    The company Uber has the intention to recover the passengers in its cars without driver in the summer of 2019 in some american cities.

    Google :

    Google teamed up with several manufacturers in order to transform the car’s current autonomous cars with its system Waymo.

    Ford :

    Ford has filed a patent for a car of stand-alone policy that gives all single tickets.

    Nissan :

    Nissan is developing a headset plugged into the brain of the drivers that would allow to anticipate the behavior of a person behind the wheel to trigger driving assistance.

    General Motors :

    General Motors plans to sell an autonomous car without the pedal or steering wheel as soon as 2019 in the United States.

    – With the collaboration of TVA Gatineau and Sarah Daoust-Braun, QMI Agency

    The end of the driving licence ?

    According to one expert, children who are 8 years old today could be the last to have to have a driving licence. And when the children of today will be great, the autonomous cars will have supplanted the classic car.

    For the expert, Nicolas Genest, the future is in the car shared with a monthly subscription. People are less interested to purchase a vehicle that remains immobile for the vast majority of the time.

    According to him, the car without driver will come shortly to pick you up at the door of your residence and bring you to work every day.

    For special outings, we will be able to reserve the car on a mobile app or by phone. In five minutes, the car will be at the door.

    Sign that the disinterestedness to the action of driving is already started, the number of permit holders in the 16-44 years has decreased from 12% in Quebec between 1995 and 2015.

    A survey of the Goldman Sachs Global Investment reports that 30 % of milléniaux (those born between 1980 and 2000) do not have the intention to buy a car in the near future.

    “In 25 years, the car shared will be the norm, and owning a car will be abnormal,” says the study author, Jeremy Rifkin.

    Subscription to a service

    According to the director general of Uber Québec Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, the speed of the service will be crucial to convince people to turn toward the car shared with autonomous cars.

    Photo courtesy of Uber Canada

    Jean-Nicolas Guillemette
    General manager of Uber, Quebec

    “At this point, on the island of Montreal, the average waiting time for an Uber is less than five minutes. A person in a building that goes down happens at the same time as the vehicle. It is faster than going into the garage to retrieve his car. They beat the auto solo “, he says.

    – With the collaboration of TVA Gatineau

    Prohibit the drivers

    Professor in computer science and in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa; Robert Laganière, believes that the municipalities could ban cars that are not autonomous in their city centre.

    Screenshot of VAT New

    Robert Laganière
    Professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Ottawa

    “We might then imagine the city centres where there are just vehicles without a driver. It would change the visual environment. You could remove the traffic lights “, he predicts.

    In its report Canada 2030, policy Horizons Canada suggests that the services of car-sharing could significantly reduce the number of parking spaces required.

    The municipalities should thus expect a significant decline in revenues from parking fees and tickets, but at the same time, they will gain space to build parks.

    It is also proposed to the cities to develop a central platform to consolidate the offerings of different companies.

    “During peak hours, the service providers may be required to provide a minimum number of autonomous vehicles in order to meet the demand,” writes one.

    Tomorrow we will try an autonomous car in Pittsburgh… and it’s not perfect.