Self-driving cars will be tested on public roads next year, the first autonomous vehicle you get in will be a ride-sharing taxi, and be prepared for a mass vehicle hacking scandal.
My first prediction is that you will see autonomous vehicles tested on public roads in 2018. The first self-driving car tested on a public road in Canada took place in Ottawa this September, and I believe that will become the norm in 2018. Ontario has implemented a year-long pilot project testing driverless cars on public roads, and this will only be strengthened in the coming year. Beyond Canada, California is in the process of changing regulations to allow the testing of self-driving cars without human drivers inside of them on public roads, and while we know Californians are generally early adopters of emerging tech thanks to the influence of Silicon Valley, there will be many cities, states, and countries following suit.
My second prediction is that the first autonomous vehicles won’t be available for purchase to consumers this year; instead, self-driving vehicles will be introduced into the ride-sharing market first. Essentially, you won’t own one in 2018 but that next Uber you order could come without a driver. Uber has actually been testing autonomous vehicles in Toronto this year and recently committed to purchasing thousands of them from Volvo to form its own self-driving fleet that it hopes will be operational by the end of 2018 or 2019. Ford has also come out saying that they’re planning on creating a fully autonomous fleet of cars for ride sharing purposes as well, although that likely won’t happen until 2021.
My third and final prediction is that after witnessing the Equifax breach this year, we’re going to see another massive hacking scandal in 2018 – except this time it will involve all the connected cars on the road. Cyberattacks are on the rise, and with The Guardian predicting there will be more than 200 million connected cars on the roads over the next few years, cyber security will become increasingly important. BlackBerry has been developing an automotive security platform to solve this problem, but it’s still not on the market just yet. If my original premise that there will be a vehicle hack in 2018 is correct, then the second part of my prediction is that we’ll also see a race between tech companies like BlackBerry, Google, and Tesla to develop a better, more secure software platform to protect connected cars.