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Is the self-driving car the future of the North American auto industry?

TFX International

December 14, 2017

According to most experts, the inevitable answer is “yes.”

Recently, Magna, an international auto supplies provider based in Aurora, Ontario, joined a consortium that hopes to make self-driving cars a reality by 2020, and available on the market by 2021. This consortium also includes car manufacturer BMW and the computing powerhouse Intel. With the cooperation of auto supplies producers, computer technology companies, and car manufacturers, this consortium of businesses is hoping to get a step ahead of Google, Tesla, and other large corporations in the race for self-driving cars.

Interior of self-driving car

As if building a self-driving car wasn’t difficult enough, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has established different levels of automation for cars:

  1. No automation: The “dynamic driving task” (all the motions, decisions, etc. that go into driving a car) is done entirely by a human.
  2. Driver assistance: Automatic processes aid some of the human driver’s process of either steering or accelerating the car. We already have this in cruise control or some advanced braking systems.
  3. Partial automation: At this level, cars don’t really drive themselves but provide both steering and acceleration control under specific circumstances. Tesla has already produced cars that can do this.
  4. Conditional automation: The “dynamic driving task” is fully controlled by the car’s computer system but a human must be constantly ready to intervene if something goes wrong. Again, Tesla has already produced a car at this level of automation.
  5. High automation: Like level three, the car controls the entire “dynamic driving task” but humans do not need to respond immediately if a car requests intervention in difficult or uncertain situations.
  6. Full automation: Cars need no intervention by humans during the task of driving.

The consortium that Magna has joined is confident that they can reach level-4 automation within the next few years.

Although all the news from the auto industry indicates that level-4 automated cars will be on the market in the next few years, most experts agree that we’re still a long way from full, level-5 automation (cars that can do literally anything a human driver could). The automated cars likely to be on the market soon wouldn’t be involved in solo trips to complete shipping a car across Canada or an international border, the way that we at TFX International can, as they’ll only be able to function in well-mapped urban areas.

No matter what revolutions occur in our transportation technologies, TFX International will be there when you need shipping and transport services for your car or motorcycle, either across Canada or from the US to Canada.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can safely and reliably move your vehicles.