Driverless cars, also called autonomous cars, are vehicles that can drive themselves. They use sensors, GPS technology, and real-time information to navigate and do not require a human driver. These types of cars must be connected to the internet in order to operate and are thus considered part of the ‘Internet of Things’.
While the technology behind these automobiles is very sophisticated and could offer many advantages, there are also several potential disadvantages that must be weighed before deciding if driverless cars are right for you.
Autonomous cars are not a new concept – in fact, the first driver-less car was invented way back in 1925 by Houdina Radio Control. However, it wasn’t until recent years that autonomous cars have started to become a reality. In 2004, for example, DaimlerChrysler completed the first successful trial of an autonomous car on public roads.
The main benefit of autonomous cars is that they have the potential to greatly reduce accidents. In 2015, for example, 1.25 million people were killed in road traffic accidents worldwide. Of these accidents, 94% were due to human error such as speeding, drunk driving or distraction. Autonomous cars could help to eliminate many of these accidents by taking human error out of the equation.
Another benefit of autonomous cars is that they could free up a lot of time for people. In the US, the average commuter spends around 26 minutes travelling to work each day. This amounts to a total of 202 hours every year. If people didn’t have to drive, they could use this time to do other things such as working, relaxing or spending time with family and friends.
There are also environmental benefits to be gained from autonomous cars. As well as reducing accidents, autonomous cars could also help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. In 2010, for example, it was estimated that traffic congestion in the US cost $87 billion in fuel and wasted time. Autonomous cars could help to reduce this congestion by driving more efficiently and smoothly than human drivers.
However, there are also some potential drawbacks to autonomous cars which must be considered. One of these is the possibility that hackers could take control of the cars. In 2015, for example, two white hat hackers were able to take control of a Jeep Cherokee from 10 miles away. This showed that there are still some security concerns which need to be addressed before autonomous cars become widespread.
Another potential drawback is that autonomous cars could lead to job losses. In the US alone, there are around 3.5 million truck drivers and 1.7 million taxi and Uber drivers. If autonomous cars become common, then many of these people could lose their jobs.
One of the most significant advantages of driver-less cars would be the drastic drop in car accidents. The majority of car accidents are due to human error, however with automated vehicles constantly scanning all potential risks (through sensors), they will be a lot safer on the road.
Another potential benefit of self-driving cars is an increase in fuel efficiency. Cars would be able to drive closer together and better utilize road space, leading to less traffic congestion and fewer emissions.
In addition, people who are unable to drive due to age or disability would suddenly have a lot more freedom and mobility. Driverless cars could also lead to less need for parking spaces, as people would be able to summon their car when they need it and send it away when they don’t.
While there are many potential benefits to driverless cars, there are also some potential drawbacks that should be considered. One worry is that hackers could potentially take control of a driverless car and use it for nefarious purposes.
If we no longer need drivers, it would mean that a whole bunch of people would be out of work–cab drivers, lorry (truck) drivers, valets and more. In countries where unemployment is already an issue, many people wouldn’t be happy about this loss in jobs.
Even if the government were to provide some sort of financial aid for those who lost their jobs, it would still be a burden on society as a whole. self-driving cars may also lead to an increase in car accidents.
Cars are becoming more and more autonomous, with features such as adaptive cruise control, automated parking, and lane keeping assist becoming more common. However, these features are not true self-driving features, as the driver is still required to pay attention to the road and be ready to take over at any time. True self-driving cars would have all of these features, plus the ability to drive without any human intervention whatsoever.
The United States has seen a few cases of Tesla’s Autopilot system being engaged during a car accident, and in each case, the system failed to prevent the accident from happening.
There are many benefits to self-driving cars, such as increased safety, efficiency, and convenience. However, there are also many potential negative consequences that need to be considered before these cars become ubiquitous on our roads.
The cost of technology for driver-less cars would make them unaffordable to most people, which would limit the number of people benefiting from them. People with disabilities that prevent them from driving would be interested in buying driver-less cars.
Some benefits of driver-less cars include:
– Increased safety on the roads as there would be fewer accidents caused by human error.
– More efficient use of resources such as fuel as the cars would be able to drive closer together and make less sudden stops and starts.
– The elderly and those with disabilities would gain greater independence as they would be able to get around more easily.
– Traffic jams would be a thing of the past as the cars would be able to communicate with each other and coordinate their movements.
– It would free up people’s time as they wouldn’t have to concentrate on driving, meaning they could work or relax while travelling.
People who are visually impaired, have difficulty using their feet or legs, or suffer from mental disabilities would all find it difficult to drive and may have access issues with public transport. They would therefore benefit largely from owning a car that requires no assistance from the driver. With driver-less cars people wouldn’t face barriers such as having anywhere to park or being forced to park far away from their destination.
Charges for parking would be a thing of the past. This would also save on time, as the car could be sent to park itself whilst the driver goes about their business meaning they wouldn’t have to waste time searching for a space.
There are many benefits to driver-less cars, but there are also some potential dangers. One worry is that if everyone owned a driver-less car then there would be no need for public transport, which would put an immense strain on the environment as everyone would be emitting fumes from their own car rather than sharing one bus or train. Another concern is that if driver-less cars became hackable then criminals could use them to commit crimes or even steal people’s cars without them knowing.