Though electric cars and self-driving vehicles are not widely available to the public, the innovations in technology and automobiles has led to an expansion in these areas and discussion about what the future holds for the automotive industry.
People who might otherwise be uninterested in automotive research and development are asking questions about this topic. Specifically, they want to know how the industry arrived at this point and what the future holds in terms of electric and self-driving vehicles for the public.
It is important to understand that, while many automakers have contributed to the development of these vehicles, Tesla has had a substantial impact on automotive innovation, and electric vehicles are likely here to stay.
A History of Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles have emerged in the automotive market in large part due to the increasing cost of gasoline. This not only refers to the actual money it takes to fill a gas-powered vehicle's gas tank but the toll these vehicles have on the environment.
Gasoline is a limited resource that is being rapidly depleted. Drilling and collecting the material is dangerous and environmentally damaging. Once gasoline is put into cars, the exhaust is dangerous to humans, animals, and the environment.
Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles have been developed as an answer to these costs and the dwindling availability of gasoline in the world amid the increasing damage of cars on the environment. These vehicles have become increasingly popular with the public, which has led to additional innovations and new models by major automakers in the United States.
The Role of Tesla in the Car Market
Along with the development of fully electric cars, Tesla is exploring the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in its vehicles, which would advance technology to include self-driving cars on the road.
At first glance, this seems like a valuable addition to the car market. Self-driving cars can be programmed to avoid accidents, making roads safer and reducing the number of injuries due to accidents. However, there are questions as to the use of self-driving cars alongside human-driven cars as well as the loss of intuition that is often needed in safe driving with self-driving cars.
It is due to the role of Tesla in the car market that the U.S. Congress, automakers, and automotive regulatory agencies are being forced to change rapidly to keep up with these technological innovations. The regulations that have been put in place to keep driving as safe as possible have, until this point, been created for the internal combustion engine. Electric and self-driving cars, on the other hand, have a completely different set of considerations that need to be regulated and monitored in the automobile industry. Since Tesla continues to innovate new vehicles for the mass market, these regulatory agencies have no choice but to address these new factors.
The Future of the Car Market
There is some controversy as to the long-term use of electric vehicles and self-driving vehicles in the future of the car market. Some experts argue that they are a fad that will disappear after some time, allowing the car market to revert back to what it has been for decades. Others argue that since electric vehicles answer a need in the industry – diminishing accessibility of oil for gasoline – they are not a fad and are instead here to stay.
Another argument in favor of electric vehicles being here to stay are the changes in regulations occurring in the U.S. Congress and other regulatory entities. If electric vehicles were merely a fad, it is unlikely the U.S. government would be pushing to make legislative changes to accommodate these vehicles. Instead, the regulatory agencies might make minor changes to include electric vehicles, but the government would be less likely to get involved.
There is less certainty that self-driving cars will expand to become standard in the automotive industry. This is a very new development in the industry, and one that has, until now, been relegated to sci-fi movies and television shows. Therefore, it will be necessary to keep an eye on this innovative change to determine whether self-driving cars will be more widely available or have practical applications on the road with human-driven vehicles.
While electric cars are here to stay and are likely to become increasingly available by major automakers in a wider range of types of vehicles, there is still some question about the increasing availability of self-driving vehicles. This is still a very new area of research and development, with a large number of considerations before they can be implemented on public roads, particularly with human drivers. However, as technology progresses, there is no reason to think that advanced research will not continue to be applied to the automotive industry decades from now.