The news media has provided extensive coverage to autonomous, self-driving vehicles. And lately, the coverage has intensified as the possibility – and probability – of self-driving vehicles gets closer and closer.
Resolution of safety questions and improving infrastructure both play a key role in not “if”, but “when”, self-driving vehicles will become a mainstream reality. It is already happening with small cars and tests are now underway for delivery trucks like those now being tested by San Francisco startup (and bought by Uber) Otto.
If all works out, RVs can’t be far behind – especially because of the tests with Otto’s truck-sized vehicles. But what will that actually mean for those looking for self-driving RVs? The first to appear will likely be small Class B or C motorhomes, the easiest to drive on roads and highways, with the ability to change lanes, stop, and avoid other vehicles and objects safely.
As I see it, the passing of the tests for self-driving-trucks comes closest to self-driving RVs. But I wonder about maneuvering into fuel stops, campgrounds, national and state parks, and parking lots.
In an article by Sebastian Thrun, an expert in robotics and artificial intelligence, and a scientist, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur, as well as the founder Google X, a lab for world-changing, “moonshot” projects, and a pioneer in self-driving cars at Google and Stanford, he states, “I would skip the steering wheels and brake pedals in a heartbeat. But they may be necessary for a while to retrieve vehicles from situations where they might be stuck.”
That is where self-driving RVs are headed, self-driving – yes – but with a steering wheel and brake pedal…”to retrieve vehicles from situations where they might be stuck.” Great for reducing the fatigue and stress of long periods of driving over the interstates, but under the driver’s control for the tight places – like campgrounds. A win-win situation – and a major step forward in the safety of driving RVs.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing ebooks on Amazon Kindle, including Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts. Follow on BoondockBobblog.