Some West African nations may have been slow to adjusting to the reality of recent technological innovations. Self-driving electric vehicles and the disadvantageous implications it will cause: Reduced patronage of fossil fuels, which generates most of the continent’s income, plus the problem of epileptic power supply, which could be a huge challenge to Lithium powered vehicles. These challenges pose a huge block to the adaption of technological innovations in the transport sector. But, even the roads are not in good shape either.
In an era of smart roads and self-driving cars, rickety, pothole filled roads are more common than traffic wardens across the region. In a country like Nigeria where people pay little heed to traffic control signals, and road wardens are easily bribed, it is hard to arrive on a conclusion on how self-driving cars would fare in such condition. Why not? These corrupt practices cannot work together with automated technology.
Below are the many challenges of self-driving in West Africa
- Poor Road Network: The road network doesn’t favor automation, bumps, potholes, eroded roads adjunct to paved roads, unplanned road networks and a host of other challenges are huge detriments to self-driving vehicles.
- Unstable Power Supply: Self-driving cars require charging parks; these charging parks require significant electricity supply to run. With the epileptic power supply of some West African states, it is Impossible to manage self-driving cars with such poor power supply.
- Absence Of Smart Roads: Without smart roads, self-driving cars will have a hard time communicating with the road and the road users: Vehicles and Drivers alike. Smart roads don’t go beyond a well paved way with traffic controls and smart signals.
- Rarity of Charging Stations: The huge gains from oil and gas, which is a major contributor to the regions GDP, have delayed Government’s interest in empowering private investments in renewable energy and stable power supply. Because of this, charging stations are very rare in the region, and the few owners of Electric cars resort to home charging.
The above challenges are well pronounced, even there was a viral report of one Tesla owner who got stranded on the highways of Lagos, Nigeria, as his car ran out of battery and there was no available place to charge.
Improvements in the sectors of transportation, power supply and road use enlightenment will go a long way in easing the use of self-driving cars and hence, will help improve the overall environmental health of the region.