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When you think of a self driving vehicle, does an image of George Jetson zipping about Orbit City come to mind? You might imagine Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element.
With electric vehicles becoming more available, it’s not outlandish to assume that fully automated cars will follow. But what about RVs? Are self driving RVs heading to the production line?
Let’s take a closer look!
What Is a Self Driving Vehicle?
Also known as an autonomous car, a self driving vehicle doesn’t require a passenger to be in the vehicle. It’s capable of operating without human involvement.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also calls these vehicles automated vehicles that can handle the entire task of driving independently.
Currently, drivers must be fully engaged and attentive even with the automation technologies in many cars like lane-keeping assistance or forward collision warning.
Even if a manufacturer were to produce a self driving RV, self driving vehicles aren’t available for consumer purchase in the United States.
How Do Self Driving Vehicles Work?
Sensors, systems, algorithms, and processors are part of the self driving experience. These technologies replace driver assistance. Radar technology can see objects hundreds of yards away using radio waves.
Lidar technology uses light pulses instead of radio waves, creating 3D models of the surroundings. The hope is that self driving vehicles will reduce the number of fatalities since automated cars can sense when danger is near through these technologies and cameras.
However, manufacturers have been instituting autonomous vehicle technology for years. Cruise control, self-parking technology, and braking assistance are on most modern cars.
So as technologies develop, vehicles will start to move from partial to full automation.
Is There a Self Driving RV?
There is no self driving RV yet. However, companies are putting time and money into designing and creating them.
There are concepts, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the RV industry joins the automobile industry in manufacturing self driving RVs.
Self Driving Concepts
Few self driving RV concepts are public, but it seems to be a focus for manufacturers. Some RV manufacturers have claimed that self driving RVs will be on the market by 2030.
Vanlifer Tesla Semi
Vanlifer is a company from New Zealand building custom camper vans. They have conversion kits for vans like the Ford Transit or Nissan Caravan, or they can build a custom design.
They’ve designed a motorhome concept for the Tesla Semi, Tesla’s class 8 electric truck. It has a 500-mile range and incorporates an autopilot feature.
The central seating position offers the driver amazing views, so RVers could spend more time taking in the scenery than focusing on driving.
The German company Erwin Hymar introduced the Galileo in 2019. This concept presents a self driving RV with glass sides that acts like a tour guide.
However, 5G technology has to be readily available worldwide for this concept to work since the self driving feature relies on this technology.
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Are Self Driving RVs on the Way?
If fully automated RVs are on the way, it will be a while. Standard self driving vehicles will likely lead the way first, and to date, there are none available for purchase.
Although some RV manufacturers believe there could be self driving RVs by the year 2030, it’s not only technological advancement causing delays. Supply chain issues continue to slow the process for manufacturers.
It’s best not to plan on seeing a self driving RV on the road for at least another ten years.
Does Anyone Make an Electric RV?
While consumers may have a long wait for a self driving RV, electric RVs have already hit the market.
The Iridium E-Mobil RV became available in 2019. This electric RV can give RVers up to 250 miles before it has to stop for recharging. However, this model is only available in Europe.
The Winnebago e-RV is a concept Winnebago announced at the Florida SuperShow in January 2022. It boasts zero emissions but only drives about 125 miles before recharging.
The THOR Vision Vehicle also appeared at the Florida SuperShow. It has an estimated drive range of 300 miles. However, both concepts aren’t available to the public yet.
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Camping Might Get Even Easier with a Self Driving RV
People still have safety questions about self driving vehicles, let alone a self driving RV. It will be interesting to see how these concepts enter the mainstream everyday life of Americans.
There are probably even more questions about the future of self driving RVs. Regardless of your opinion about these vehicles, it’s probably not “if” self driving vehicles hit the road, but “when.”
When manufacturers mass-produce them, will you be jumping on the bandwagon? Would you take a self driving RV across the country, enjoying the beautiful scenery or taking a nap without operating the vehicle?