The Smiling Car is the first step

By 2020, 10 million cars with self-driving features are expected to be on the road (Business Insider). In an international survey conducted by Semcon in partnership with research company Inizio, eight out of ten pedestrians stated that they seek eye contact with the driver when they cross the street.

Google is already testing prototypes of its self-driving cars on public streets in a handful of U.S. cities, and other companies, such as Tesla, are working on their own versions of autonomous technology. Within a few years to a few decades, it’s possible that such vehicles could go to mass production and become a fixture on the roads.

A safe traffic environment is dependent on interactions between people.

Eight out of ten pedestrians seek eye contact with the driver when they cross the street. This is no longer possible with self-driving cars. To make pedestrians feel safer Semcon has developed The Smiling Car concept where the self-driving car communicates in a perfectly natural way – by smiling.

Adding The Smiling Car to the front of cars using existing technology is not especially complicated. But we want to take the concept a step further and create an even better understanding of people’s intentions in relation to the self-driving car.
— Magnus Carlsson, ADAS and Autonomous Driving Manager at Semcon

Self-driving cars can bring very positive changes, for the environment, safety and quality of life. Some research has suggested that up to 90 percent of traffic accidents could be avoided with the use of self-driving cars. 

KNPO believe that complete adoption of self-driving cars will go fast. It didn't take that long for horses to be completely replaced by cars.

We need to recognize the psychological and social challenges self-driving cars pose.

The fact that self-driving cars must be programmed ahead of time to respond to any given situation presents a kind of quandary for the industry. There are certain ethical questions — such as who the vehicle should sacrifice in a situation where someone inevitably must be injured — that must be answered before these cars hit the road.

So there are many questions left to be answered, and they’ll likely only become more complicated as the technology advances and gets closer to commercial applications.