Our Self-Driving Future is Coming
The era of driven cars is coming to an end. Driven cars face the same fate as the horse and cart. The difference is the AI will be doing the work this time.
The Era Of Convenience
What is the point of driving when you can be driven?
That's the question many of us may be asking very soon. And it's a sign of how far-reaching the AI revolution is and will be. What's the point of doing something when an AI can do it for you? Not only that but in many cases, well quite frankly, the AI can do it better.
According to researchers at the US Department of Transport, 94% of car accidents could be prevented by self-driving vehicles by eliminating accidents caused by human error.
Using this study and the latest car fatality data from 2019 in the US and UK we can estimate that around 62,622 traffic fatalities could have been prevented last year by self-driving technology/vehicles in the UK and US alone.
However, there are hurdles when it comes to rolling out the technology.
Self-driving cars, like many technologies, face many obstacles on the road to widespread use and regulatory approval
Some of the biggest challenges are the legal ones. Who is liable if one of the vehicles were to crash? Should one of the drivers need a license in case they ever need to take control? So many legal questions.
On top of these legal questions, there are moral ones too. Should a machine be able to choose who lives and dies in a split-second decision? Should an AI be responsible for protecting its occupant even if it means sacrificing others in the name of doing so?
If you have not noticed the pattern, there is one. Each of these questions revolves around one thing, the safety, and reliability of the vehicles.
Answering these questions will be the focus of any future regulations. And the sooner these regulations can answer these questions, the sooner these cars will be on the road.
How Long Will It Be Until Self-Driving Cars Are Commonplace?
So What Are The Main Benefits?
For a technology to become widespread in use it needs to be both convenient, affordable, and most of all, beneficial. First off I can think of a personal reason as to why these cars are beneficial, and to which many others will relate to, and that is greater safety and access for the disabled (mental and physical) when it comes to transportation.
As someone on the autism spectrum, I have a lot of difficulty with driving. I would be so much safer with a self-driving car. It wouldn't matter if I was to be distracted because I'm not even driving! I think this sort of benefit would probably also extend to people with other disabilities such as amputees who in a lot of (if not most) cases are unable to drive in any capacity whatsoever.
So then that brings us to another benefit, and that is safer streets. An AI cannot be drunk! however, a human can. And in a lot of cases, these humans decide to drive a car whilst drunk and it usually ends very badly...
So imagine if the car drove the drunk human instead. No life cut short but an act of drunk foolishness, no police coming to people's doors to tell them their loved one has died in from a drunk driver, none of that. An AI simply cannot make these mistakes because, well, it cannot get intoxicated.
Perhaps the biggest problem is... well... the software itself
if you haven't noticed, coding is hard. It's especially harder when you are coding a car that will be driving people from A to Z. And its made even harder when you consider the fact that just one slip up in the coding and development of the vehicle could cost lives.
That's the hardest part of the development of self-driving vehicles, proving they are safe. Not just to regulators, but to the public too. People are very apprehensive about entrusting an AI with their lives when the AI has a chance of malfunctioning somehow. Gaining the trust of the public should be the utmost priority of any company that wants to see their self-driving cars succeed. Because if they don't prove their safety, people won't get in them (obviously).
Despite The Risks, The Technology Will Succeed
In spite of the latest accidents and concerns. Self-driving technology will almost certainly become mainstream.
The pros outweigh the cons. Reduced traffic deaths, better disability access to transportation, and just downright convenience to many.
But, alas, driven vehicles in all likelihood will not disappear. the car enthusiasts of the world will long to get behind the wheels of the classics such as the mustang.] But apart from the furore that will be emanating from car enthusiasts when it comes to the classics, well, the era of driven cars will eventually be over. The AI will rule supreme...