Will self-driving cars be on our roads soon?

This article is part of a series of article published by the Journalism & Media Committee of the World Youth Economic Forum 2018. This article was written by Zhang Tianyi.

Automatic transportation is currently one of the most heatedly debated ideas worldwide. On August 3, 2018, the committee of Machine Learning and Automation at the World Youth Economic Forum (WYEF) focused upon this very topic; delegates represented different organizations with varying interests and enthusiastically expressed their thoughts on the matter.

The first representatives to present were the delegates of the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA). They claimed that the ultimate purpose of the organization is to ensure citizen safety by eliminating dangers on the highway and emphasized that the top priority will always be to protect human rights. However, the delegates acknowledged the fact that the organization’s job becomes more challenging with the rise of automatic transportation. Besides the challenges they are going to be up against, the NHTSA representatives showed their inclination towards supporting automatic vehicles. According to the representatives, the manufacturing and implementation process of automatic cars will boost the economy by adding 6 million new jobs, in regards to safety, they predicted that in 2023 automatic cars will be armed with a strong 5G network, which will strengthen accuracy.

The delegates representing BMW followed. Despite the famous German carmaker’s ambition to explore automatic cars, it is aware of the fact that more than 70% of the customers do not support the concept of automatic cars, citing the possibility of cyber attacks as the main concern. The BMW representatives proposed placating public fear through education. The distribution and implementation of such a program were not specified.

The future prospect of automatic transportation clearly begs for further exploration, but in general, delegates representing Geely, AT&T, and many other substantial companies affirm the rapid development of automation and higher technology.