A video of an alleged self-driving Audi along Thika Road has drawn mixed reactions from the public about its innovative features and design.
The vehicle in question sparked a debate on Wednesday (June 22) about the ability of self-driving cars to survive Kenya’s chaotic roads, which are characterized by poor driving habits.
The video showed the driver sitting in the passenger seat while filming the car driving along Thika Road.
After further review of the video by UKTN.co.ke, the vehicle was determined to be on the bed of a truck. A few UKTN online were quick to point out the driver’s ruse after the majority of users were tricked.
We also confirmed that self-driving cars are not yet allowed in the country due to lack of regulatory framework and other challenges.
History of self-driving cars
The concept of self-driving cars dates back to the 1930s when General Motors created the first self-driving car, controlled by electromagnetic fields.
The model then became a reality in 1958 when sensors were installed on the vehicle and the steering wheel could therefore be manipulated to the left or to the right.
Years later, leading companies such as Ford, Mercedes Benz, Tesla and BMW jumped into the technology to fully exploit and develop the concept.
In 2021, Tesla nearly hit the mark with its full self-driving offering. This allowed for a semi-autonomous model that offered hands-free control along highways.
The technology has yet to be fully adopted globally. In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that more than 400 accidents in the last ten months involved vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance technologies.
In November 2021, Tesla recalled nearly 12,000 vehicles that were part of beta testing for fully self-driving cars. This was due to most vehicles suddenly activating the emergency brakes.
Tesla car spotted in Kenya in November 2020
Is Kenya ready for self-driving cars?
Kenya seems to be far from adopting self-driving cars, in part because of the country’s public transport system.
Despite the fact that the matatu culture gives UKTN a sense of identity, it presents one of the biggest barriers to self-driving technology.
Additionally, self-driving cars depend on road signs, which are sometimes messed up in Kenya. Road conditions further pose a huge risk due to potholes, detours and unmarked turns that are not properly mapped.
Kenya also lacks appropriate legislation to guide the adoption, deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles.