In autonomous vehicle news, SNFC, France's national railway operator, has announced their intention to have autonomous TGVs (French abbreviation for "high-speed trains") running by 2023. SNFC has dubbed the concept the "drone train" and plans to start prototype testing sometime in 2019.
Driverless public transport might make some uneasy, bringing up visions of the film Speed and the potential ways things could go awry, but with years of testing and preparation, every possible issue should be resolved.
The SNFC's trains, which can already travel at speeds up to 321 km/h (200 mph), will have automatic brakes installed (for both regular and emergency situations), as well as sensors to allow the trains to identify objects in their path. To ensure safety, the trains will still have conductors aboard for the first excursions just in case anything goes wrong, and because remote piloting is an option, even unforeseeable issues with the trains could be dealt with safely in a variety of ways.
As autonomous vehicles continue to increase in popularity, the future of transportation promises to be safer, more efficient, and beneficial to the economy. From Tesla to Toyota, manufacturers across the globe are investing in the development of autonomous vehicles, and in some places in the U.S., driverless cars could be on the streets in as few as two months.
Autonomous vehicle development isn't slowing down any time soon, so the next train you take might have no conductor at all, and that could be a good thing for everyone involved.