Directions: Autonomous Autos Take to the Streets

Directions: Autonomous Autos Take to the Streets

There is a lot of speculation on how driverless vehicles - which are already on the roads as test cars - will impact the service industry.

Google reported that its experimental autonomous Prius has driven more than 300,000 miles without an accident.  Photo credit: Steve JurvetsonThe auto industry won’t be producing vehicles in the near future that encompass the options of the flying “Spinner” cars portrayed in 1982’s Blade Runner, however, the reality is that we will soon be seeing something more like the “Johnny Cabs” that hailed from the 1990’s film Total Recall.

In March of this year, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued a license for a self-driven car, and in late September, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown, at a ceremony at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, signed into law a bill that his state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is to write regulations covering robot cars by January 2015.

The law also allows autonomous vehicles to operate on California roads.

“I expect that self-driving cars are going to be far safer than human-driven cars,” said Google co-founder Sergey Brin. “Self-driving cars do not run red lights.”

There is a lot of speculation on how these driverless vehicles will impact the service industry.

For one thing, it’s going to take technicians even more skilled in computers and electronics to service these vehicle systems.

Bob Lutz, former GM vice chairman and idea man behind the Chevy Volt, said recently that he expects mass-produced driverless vehicles on the roads within 20 years and that the technology to operate such vehicles is already available.

Lutz cited “smart systems” like start-stop technology, lane departure warning systems, adaptive cruise control and GPS guidance — designs currently used in some of today’s high-end vehicles — will be combined by engineers to produce the hands-free cars.

Together, these advancements are designed to keep the vehicle in its lane and at a safe distance from the car in front of it. The car will also apply the brakes to avoid a collision, even when a car driving 30 miles slower suddenly pulls in front of it.

Lutz thinks this is a great idea, since “cars don’t smoke pot or drink,” and thereby the nation will see a reduction in driver-impaired accidents.

The vehicles could be bad news for collision shops, as fewer accidents transforms into less work for collision shops. Insurance costs also could decline.

While the expected safety improvements are beneficial, the aftermarket may see more miles per vehicle increase, as the technology will allow more people such as the elderly and those who do not like to drive in
traffic the opportunity for more travel.

Vehicles also could be programmed to arrive at your shop for service or maintenance even without a passenger. Let’s just hope the “smart car” doesn’t ­forget the credit card to pay for the work.

You May Also Like

DMA Adds New BrakeMaster Coverage

New coverage for Ford and Chevy includes popular pickup trucks and SUVs.

DMA’s BrakeMaster line of Brake Rotors & Drums features over 400 SKUs. New coverage for Ford and Chevy includes popular pickup trucks and SUVs, the company said. Rounding out the latest offering is coverage for a wide range of Toyota, Lexus, and Acura sedans and Audi hot hatches.

Curing Shock, Strut and Suspension Noise

As vehicles age, eliminating noise is Job 1. But ‘noise’ may mean different things to you and your customers.

Pricing Alignments

Why ordering off the menu can hurt your shop and customers.

Toe Angles and Ride Height 

Zero toe angle is present when both tires are parallel to the center thrustline.

High-End Ride Control Rehab

Electronically adjustable shocks and struts use conventional mono-tube and twin-tube oil-filled dampeners.

Other Posts

We Want Your Thoughts On Electronic Power Steering

Your opinion matters us and can be profitable for you too! Share your ideas with us.

Akebono Expands Severe Duty Disc Brake Pad Kits

Akebono said it expanded its severe-duty ultra-premium disc brake pad line by 14 new part numbers.

GSP Releases New CV Axle Part Numbers

GSP said 14 new CV axle part numbers are in stock and ready to ship.

Nissan CVT Clutch Point Relearn Procedure

The Adaptive Shift Control delivers responsive and powerful acceleration.