We all know by now self-driving cars are coming, and by coming, we mean sooner rather than later. We’re no longer looking decades off into the future here.
Autonomous driving is going to allow automakers to design vehicles, or at least some vehicles, in completely new ways. With the actual driving being taken care of, the interior of vehicles could look completely different in the years to come with more focus on the ability of passengers to engage with each other and the outside world, get work done or even sleep during their time in the car.
There is probably always going to be some fail safe measure in place to allow a driver to take over operation of the vehicle if the need arises, but self-driving cars might be more likely to resemble the comforts of a limousine than what we currently expect in a car.
With that in mind, safety experts have to go about designing the vehicles of the future thinking about safety in different ways, from new angles and probably adding safety measures in some instances where there were little or none previously. And then they’re going to need to test those systems probably much like they do today. They will harness several crash test dummies into the new designs and ram them into walls at various speeds to see what happens.
It’s the Wild West in some regards for safety experts at automobile manufacturers right now because they’re trying to both envision the best and safest experience for their future passengers while also imaging what the safety standards will be for these new cars and how they can meet them.