With all the recent news and hype of Tesla’s autonomous cars, the public is slowly but surely becoming more inclined towards a future where our road transportation system is fully autonomous. In the past few years, big players such as Google, Apple, Uber and others has joined Elon Musk in a quest towards autonomous vehicles. With all these big giants pushing for this, one may be convinced that the future transportation system envisioned by Musk is not too far away.

But is it?

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With over 1.2 Billion vehicles on the road, this would be biggest obstacle from achieving full autonomy in road transport. Tesla is still a relatively small player in the automotive industry, where Musk’s plan would only work if everyone cooperates and integrate autonomous systems into their vehicles. Coupled with the fact that people are often resistant to change and fear new technology, a fully autonomous road transport system may be further in the future than we believe.

However, all is not lost in autonomous transportation systems.

The drone industry has been gaining traction in the last 2 years and more and more complex technologies are being developed at an incredible rate. What many may not realize is that aircrafts nowadays can be operating on a fully autonomous network. Most flight paths are pre-determined before take-off, and aircrafts has advanced anti-collision systems in place. We could easily replicate and implement these systems in drones and create a fully autonomous network of drones where there is a much higher probability of taking off and passing the appropriate regulations.

It is often easier to start something from scratch than to challenge and change the norm. That is why I believe that we will see a fully autonomous aerial transportation network before an autonomous ground based transportation network.

If you have differing opinions or want to discuss further, do drop me an email at jinxi@poladrone.com.