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Driverless Cars: The Future of Driving

Updated on August 15, 2015

Autonomous Cars on Our Roads

This future is already with us. It's no longer a matter of if we can do it. The technology is here, and all we can do is embrace it. People can no longer debate on the validity of driverless cars on our roads. As is with all of our technological advances, once we can do it, we will do it. The only question now is how soon it will be before all cars on the road drive themselves. Between now and then, we'll have set up regulatory schemes and cybersecurity measures to handle the autonomous system.

How Driverless Cars will benefit the World

A driverless car (also known as an autonomous car) is a vehicle that fulfills the traditional aspects of a car- such as transport, but has enhanced features that remove the need for human input. The car is able to sense its environment and navigate without human control. It uses techniques such as GPS, radar and computer vision. Advanced control systems enable it to identify navigation paths, signage and obstacles by interpreting sensory information.

The autonomous cars come with benefits such as:

  • Reducing traffic collisions;
  • Reducing the need for traffic police;
  • Solving the parking menace, as cars can drop passengers off and park further on where there is plenty of space;
  • Reducing the need for road signage, as the cars receive all communication electronically;
  • Since the cars are more aware o f situations and can react more quickly to hazards, speed limits would be increased, thus reducing time taken for travel;
  • Increased space as a result of removal of the steering wheel.


How Driverless Cars will Impact Humanity

In Rutt Bridges book, he examines the impact that autonomous vehicle technology has on mobility. It paints a detailed future of how the driverless cares will change the face of transport. A world without car crashes, congestion, smog, or road rage. For less than the conventional bus fare, as you will get to enjoy the comfortable and quiet door-to-door service that you'd get if you were using a personal chauffeur. The difference is that, this time, the chauffeur never gets tired, distracted or testy. In addition, the chauffeur knows the fastest and safest route to your destination. There'll neither be crowds nor congestion, or the need for cash and tipping. "You just hop in, enjoy the ride, hop out, and be on your way".

Today, owning a car means having to make payments such as insurance, maintenance, registration gas prices, deal with accidents, and handle the stress of traffic. Driverless cars will slash all these costs, and people will be able to save thousands of dollars annually, money which they can spend on education or vacation. Instead of people having to deal with the road rage and rushhour traffic, they'll be free to socialize and catch up with the day’s events, chat up their fellow passengers or go on Facebook while being driven at high speeds. They'll be free to tweet and text with each other on highways, pick and receive calls and get a head start on their days activities.


Cons of Driverless Cars

In spite of their value there are still some obstacles that arise from using driverless cars.

  • Loss of jobs that are related to driving
  • There'll be competition in the radio spectrum as the cars would need to communicate
  • Loss of privacy- your car will have data on your travel habits, and may be linked to your online accounts.

The infrastructure systems will need to be changed for the driverless cars to function optimally, For instance, there'll be need for traffic and street lighting systems that communicate with the cars. A legal framework will also have to be constituted and implemented.

How soon will the driverless cars be here?

They already are. They made an appearance in January 2015’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As of July 2015, Google had already tested out 23 self driving cars. The state of California has already approved testing of the autonomous cars on public roads. The laws took effect on September 2014. Other companies such as Bosche, Delphi Automotive, Nissan Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Audi and Uber have already begun their driverless-car tests on roads. However, the self driving cars today primarily exist as prototypes. In fact, the only commercially available driverless cars are low-speed shuttles that have been designed for office and college campus. Those travel at about 12 mph. But how soon will it be before the actual driverless cars get to the market? Here's what the auto manufacturers themselves have to say:

  • Ford CEO Mark Fields (in an interview with Forbes) estimates that fully automated cars will be in circulation within the next five years.

  • The Audi A8 due in 2017 is set to drive with full autonomy. This is according to Audi's Head of Product and Technology Communications, Stefan Moser

A Toyota Prius modified by Google operating as a driverless car.
A Toyota Prius modified by Google operating as a driverless car.


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    • VationSays profile image

      VationSays 2 years ago

      True..We'll have to work to infrastructure, because the state it currently is won't be workable with driverless cars. It'll need a whole system remake. Gradually driven cars will be phased out, like automatic cars are doing to the manual ones, though at a faster rate.

      I saw that solar powered highways are in the making. They can be easily made to incorporate the autonomous car system.

      Most of the cons are just teething problems that come with everything new. My main concern is with the privacy. Soon privacy will not be as it used to. Personally, I don't like being tracked everywhere i go. (Not that am planning any crime of sorts, but the feeling of an eye on my movement just bugs me)

      Am really excited about this tech adancement too. :)

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Today I heard on the news that Apple is working on an autonomous car too. I'm curious to see when the infrastructure starts to be considered. That is, the computerized communication features necessary for the cars to get road signage information, as well as traffic conditions.

      The ability to communicate with each other also requires that non-autonomous cars should not be on the same roads. This can only cause havoc. So I expect that certain roads will need to be set aside for driverless vehicles. This is going to be difficult to build into the structure of the nation's roads. But I'm sure it will be done in some way since the technology is moving in that direction.

      Privacy issues that you mentioned are not any different from the technology we have right now. People's whereabouts can be traced simply by the information from cell sites about where their cell phone is any any moment. Motion chips are also in smart phones already, which record minute movements. This can be used to detect how someone might have committed a crime, since every movement is recorded.

      Insurance companies are also providing devices that monitor a drivers actions so as to lower their insurance rates. These devices also monitor exact routes they drive and how long they stay at each location. So as you see, we have no privacy anymore anyway.

      The benefits of driverless vehicles outweigh the cons, in my opinion. I look forward to the day when this is the norm.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      There are pros and cons for driverless cars, putting life at risk

    • profile image

      Destane 2 years ago

    • zaibaly profile image

      Zohaib Zaib Aly 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Cool info sir .. :)