The fully autonomous vehicle is a perhaps a wonder of the modern age. Cars have been diagnosing their own problems for decades, and to an extent, fixing themselves. Diagnosing and repairing faults is easy — dependent on the fault — but as software begins to drive the industry, surely it’s just a question of big data?
The difficulty here isn’t stating whether cars will have the technology to do it, but rather defining just what could be classed as self-fixing; adaptation could be seen as fixing the problem rather than the cause. With tech being as clever as it is, the risk of significant component failure is lessened — sensors would recognize problems before they happened and wouldn’t let a catastrophic failure happen.
With the number of electronic controllers fitted rising exponentially, an intelligent car for today will have around 100 million lines of computer code scattered throughout its controllers. It monitors and adjusts everything from braking to passenger comfort, hence we’re more likely to be looking at big data solutions rather than mechanical.
Without doubt, cars of the future will be able to diagnose more faults and conditions than ever before. That particular feature of car ownership will be dramatically influenced by the Internet of Things, and software controlled hardware could possibly outlive any useful life. This doesn’t make vehicles self-repairing in the truest sense of the common meaning, but it does mean a huge step towards this goal.