The Driverless Car of the Future is Here
Self-driving cars are going to be an important part of our future lives as the technology for these autonomous cars get more advanced. The long term goal for automakers is an autonomous car that can handle all driving functions without any driver. Technology like this isn't for sci-fi movies anymore, as our technology gets more advanced. So what are the implications of an autonomous vehicle? Let's take a look at both the advantages and disadvantages of having a self-driving car. Both sides of the issue bring pretty compelling arguments and greatly influence the lifestyle of the entire world. At this year's CES (Consumer Electronics Show) we got to see just what the big automakers had in store, including Audi, Mercedes Benz, and even Google.
Fewer Traffic Collisions
Since autonomous cars will be able to sense the motion of all the other cars on the road, it will be able to brake in time to avoid an accident, or move out of the way of an incoming vehicle. The only collisions that may occur is if a car being driven by a person plows into an autonomous vehicle, but that's all due to human error.
No Driving and Navigation Chores
Since people don't have to drive, they have some more time on their hands. Those who have to drive a moderate distance to work can now even read the news on their smart phones or eat breakfast on the road. People won't need to navigate to unfamiliar areas either, since the navigation will be fully done by the autonomous cars itself. Cars will be outfitted with LED panels to warn pedestrians crossing the street and communicate using a marquee.
Higher Speed Limit
Autonomous cars will be able to travel at higher speeds, since there is no need to human reaction like sudden braking. Since these driverless cars can sense their surroundings, they are able to react much faster than humans, enabling them to travel faster and get to destinations sooner.
It would not matter if the occupant inside the driverless vehicle is under age, over age, distracted, intoxicated, or impaired in any way. Young adults who haven't reached the age threshold for a driver license or the elderly who don't possess the cognitive abilities to drive anymore will be able to travel to their destinations. People who are intoxicated will be able to get home safely, thus decreasing and even completely eliminating collisions due to alcohol. Incidents involving distracted driving such as texting or talking will also be eliminated. In today's time, many accidents are caused by distracted drivers who are texting while driving, creating accidents that range from a small fender bender to collisions involving a death.
Tired of finding parking at a crowded mall parking lot? What about aimlessly circling the parking structure during the holiday shopping season? Autonomous cars can transport passengers, drop them off, return to their home destination, and be summoned for pick-up. Parking spaces will be opened and builders can even convert some unused land into more businesses.
No Traffic Tickets
For those of you who have mistakenly sped a little in a residential street and gotten a ticket for speeding, now you won't ever get a speeding ticket. Since the car operates on its own, drivers don't need to look at MPH street signs, completely rendering street signs obsolete into the future.
Some people are just not as adept at driving. There are people on the road who brake at the last minute, don't brake hard enough, commit erratic lane change, drive in two lanes, and a variety of other driving related faux pas. People like that make the road a more dangerous place for everyone. Autonomous cars don't have those issues and can safely maneuver and react to give people a smoother ride.
Loss of Jobs
While there have been tons of positives for autonomous cars, there are negatives including the loss of jobs. There will be no need for bus drivers, taxi drivers, and even ride-sharing services. This loss of jobs could mean uprooting an entire person's livelihood and send an industry into complete unemployment and chaos.
The car's computer could be compromised by malicious intent and used for destructive purposes. Terrorists could load the autonomous car with explosives and cause destruction and chaos. Hackers with a personal vendetta could program the vehicle to use as a murder weapon. Even inclement weather like a heavy snowstorm could cause malfunction.
Inexperienced Manual Drivers
If the need arises for a passenger to drive manually, they are unable due to lack of experience, lack of driver license, or not of the age threshold. In case of emergencies like this, people would need to know how to safely operate a vehicle and understand the rules of the road.
Have Versus Have Not
How much would a driverless vehicle cost? Would people be able to afford the technology that's required to sustain a driverless vehicle? It becomes a question of those who can afford an autonomous car and those who cannot, causing an economic rift and a possible crisis.
There are people on both sides of the autonomous vehicle issue, but there is no question that these cars will be part of the future. The world will just have to change to adapt, just like how people integrated computers into their lives back in the 1970s. Self driving cars, full-on LEDs, OLEDs, advanced lighting systems, high tech navigation, and all sorts of technological gains will be a norm in everyone's lives.