When the concept of autonomous driving began to resonate a decade ago, one of the great promises around it was that computers and algorithms would be able to reduce traffic accidents : good news for a country like Mexico , where year Every year, an average of 16,000 people die from this type of mishap.
But the utopia is blurred in the great metropolises of emerging markets, such as Mexico City, where the road infrastructure is deficient. An autonomous vehicle could hardly travel without lines painted on the pavement, with broken traffic lights and without a widely deployed 5G network that facilitates the connection between vehicles, infrastructure and people.
Arturo Cervantes, president of the National Alliance for Road Safety, foresees that the emergence of autonomous driving will take around two decades. “Autonomous vehicles are an undeniable reality, but perhaps we are 15 or 20 years away from seeing them really used in a common way in our cities. In Mexico we are further behind than European countries, but that is where we are going”, he argues at a press conference at the request of Expansión .
A 2016 study by the German consulting firm Statista considered that Germany would be the first country to develop a driverless car, followed by the United States, Sweden and Great Britain. But to this day, none have succeeded.
Bernardo Baranda, Latam director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), highlights that the delays are due to regulatory barriers, but above all because the modernization of the infrastructure has not advanced as fast as expected. the development of technology: the implementation of hydraulic concrete instead of asphalt, signs and alternative routes, traffic lights capable of adjusting to traffic.
“(Autonomous driving) has not been achieved as soon as expected,” he asserts in an interview with Expansión .
Baranda points out that automation could first reach the passenger transport segment . In Europe there are already some examples, such as the first passenger train mobilized without any driver on the railway network of Busigny, France, in May last year.
For José Azcárate, president of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS Mexico), the development and implementation of increasingly intelligent mobility schemes has become a ladder of several steps.
“There are dogmas at a European level or in countries with greater industrial progress where it is said: the future of the vehicle is electric, the future of the vehicle is autonomous, but the best future is an electric and autonomous vehicle. It is true, but it is also true that in our country the situation is going to have to be much more gradual. Before thinking about an autonomous vehicle, we must solve many more things”, he concludes.