(KTIV) – For many people, automated or self-driving vehicles could be the wave of the future when it comes to transportation.
But some have misconceptions about the vehicles.
Omar Ahmad, University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator, has been working in the driving simulation field since 1994.
He says the vehicles will never replace drivers. Instead, they are meant to help those, especially in places like Iowa that can offer more mobility options.
“Commonly they are referred to as self-driving vehicles when in fact they don’t,” said Ahmad. “These vehicles are meant to aid the driver. They are meant to help us, but they aren’t meant to replace the driver. As people buy automated vehicles or vehicles with automated vehicle technology, they should be aware of that.”
The vehicles can be a major advantage for people that live in rural areas of the country.
“Rural areas comprise 3/4ths of the United States,” he said. “And while 20 percent of the population lives in rural areas, half of all fatalities are in rural areas. So automated vehicles have the potential of improving safety and broaden mobility, as well as enhance commerce in all of the United States and especially in rural areas. One of the things that we see is vehicles travel at very fast rates in rural areas, and they are interacting with vehicles that are traveling at slower speeds, like school buses and tractors.”