Are Self-Driving Cars Fit for South African Roads?

Are Self-Driving Cars Fit for South African Roads?

February 24, 2020
Posted by: Estefan

Do self-driving cars have any safety criteria in place? Would you trust a self-driving ride sharing service? Would autonomous vehicle owners still require a driver’s license?

First launched in America, an autonomous vehicle shuttle service experienced an accident on its first day of operation.

Self-driving on the road

According to users of autonomous ride-sharing services, self-driving cars are not completely driverless. In fact, riders are joined by an ‘operator’ who only take control of the vehicle during an emergency when a manual system override is required. It is also required that the operator possess a special class of driver’s license, specifically for autonomous cars.

So, what makes the vehicle autonomous then? As said, the vehicle only loses its ‘self-driving’ title in the event of an emergency. Other than that, the self-driving car regulates its own speed, movement and braking.

The biggest challenge for autonomous vehicles is currently the ability to make its way through intense weather conditions. But, if it can survive snow and heavy showers, self-driving cars will definitely be able to handle South Africa’s weather conditions.

In terms of stopping, users of autonomous cars revealed that the vehicle halted for traffic lights, humans and sometimes, birds – however, encountering a struggle in moving forward thereafter. Luckily, the operator in the rider’s presence was able to override the system to get the show back on the road again.

Things to do while riding in an autonomous car

Every combustion engine car owner’s dream is to, for once, sit back and enjoy the ride with their passengers – especially if you form part of the ageing or disabled population. But as a result of driving being so second nature to most, finally getting to live that dream can get monotonous.

Nevertheless, what’s better than sitting in traffic – increasing your stress level with road rage or catching up on work? Enjoy the ride with some music, check your ride or flight status, make restaurant reservations and buy movie or concert tickets using the car’s built-in screen. You can also use the ride-sharing service app on your phone to open the car doors. In fact, this is the only way to open the vehicle doors – best to save your mobile battery and use the vehicle’s built-in screen instead.

Facing the self-driving fear

To most autonomous vehicle users, the ride is similar to taking a bus, taxi or train – however, considering South Africa’s road safety statistics, riding in a self-driving car would, most-likely, be safer than taking public transport. It’s an easy-to-get-used-to high-tech mode of transport that will provide an unchallenging process to get used to. If you have Tachophobia (fear of speed), you’ll be rest assured that the autonomous vehicle drives no faster than 55 mph due to its operation within cities.

How safe are self-driving cars for kids?

Would you let a kid take the train, bus or a taxi alone? If your answer is “No!” then in similar fashion, you or an adult would probable travel with a kid in a self-driving vehicle. According to dryve, there are currently 19 states which forbid parents from leaving a child, within a certain age group, unattended in a car – 15 of which have proposed laws to prevent this. Apart from the hassle which parents have to face with shuttle services for their kids, if a child were to use ride-sharing services with self-driving vehicles on South African roads, the child should have a higher bar of maturity.

So, will self-driving cars be fit for South African roads?

South Africa has an emerging economy, currently disrupting the tech-space by bringing Taxify under its Coat of Arms and witnessing digital Car Buying Service, providing car sellers with a seamless way to sell their car online and receive the best price the market is willing to pay through their nationwide network of dealers, in 3 easy steps. In the same way, machine learning is helping autonomous vehicles advance within emerging markets and South Africa is definitely a market worth self-driving into; more so given the reassurance of human operators within these vehicles.

Although self-driving vehicles are only entering the automotive industry now, it is progressing within various countries and forecasted as the future of automobiles.

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