German auto maker Daimler AG aims to release self-driving cars by 2020. The move is part of an industry-wide race to bring the technology to the market.
The Business Spectator reports that Daimler head of development Thomas Weber said that the company wants to be the first to introduce self-driving technology and aims to do so by the end of this decade.
Daimler is working on highly automated driving technology. Cars using this technology can master tasks like driving on highways and manoeuvring through traffic jams on their own. Then the driver takes over when a difficult situation, such as the presence of multiple pedestrians, comes into play.
According to Weber, the self-driving cars will develop slowly. "Autonomous driving will not come overnight, but will be realised in stages," he said.
For example, at present European Union laws state that drivers must be in control of cars at all times and there is the challenge of having to change drivers’ attitudes to self-driving cars.
Daimler isn’t alone in developing the self-driving cars. For example, Nissan is also aiming to introduce the technology by 2020.
And, as Rapid City Journal points reports, General Motors and even Google are others who are involved with the new technology developments.
Apart from freeing up drivers from the task of actually driving, the technology promises to potentially save thousands of lives. According to David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US, human error is currently a factor in as many as 90 percent of traffic deaths in that country.
In addition, it is claimed the technology could help reduce traffic problems on highways, reduce carbon emissions by shortening travel times, and give more independence to the elderly and the disabled.