By Nico Ardiles ’18
We don’t have those flying cars from The Jetsons right now, but we do have cars that can drive by themselves. This new technology will inevitably make the world of transportation change forever.
The world is beginning to experience a game changer in human history. Scientific innovation is making great advances. There are proposals to colonize Mars, launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, make renewable energy cheaper and more common than ever before, and controversially, cars are driving themselves.
Driverless cars are both amazing and horrifying at the same time, a double-edged sword. A vehicle without a driver seems to risk an accident, especially for a pedestrian. On the other hand, this technology suggests greater safety by eliminating human error.
Humans are bad decision makers, to put it kindly. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 37,000 Americans die tragically by car accidents every year. Out of those fatal car accidents, more than 90% of them are caused by human error. Removing human drivers from the equation may reduce this number.
There are risks towards using this technology. I am completely aware that this type of transportation is not at its apex. This was clearly proven by the death of Joshua Brown, who was possibly the first death caused by a semi-autonomous vehicle in Florida last May 2016.
Another risk is that this kind of technology challenges the law. Let’s say that a self driving car gets into an accident that happened too sudden for it to predict. Who should take the blame for the crash? The passenger, the car, or the manufacturer? Regulations are already being considered to make autonomous vehicles safer and regulated as legally possible.
The future possibilities of self driving cars is life-changing. This is especially true with the arrival and assistance of artificial intelligence and other robotics in the near future. Future generations will probably never understand what it was like to be told about driver’s safety, because there will be no point in putting your hands on the wheel. People can finally sleep on their way to work, or during a long road trip to and from vacation. No worries. It could be that easy. Taxi drivers and truck drivers will probably begin a massive decline. It will be because computers do not deal with hunger, thirst, stress, anxiety, sleepiness, or salaries while driving a vehicle by itself.
Tesla is leading the development of autonomous vehicles. Google is also giving this technology a try. Uber already did it’s first delivery with an autonomous delivery truck, transporting 50,000 Budweiser cans back in October this year. According to Business Insider, over 10 million self driving cars will probably be sold by 2020.
Skeptics say that they are afraid of what these cars could do because of potential dangers. I understand them to some extent, but people should seriously consider the fact that history is probably repeating itself right now.
Better technology will always win. There has been tons of evidence in the past to make that claim true. Our worries today are similar to those that happened when the first automobiles arrived.
And we all know that automobiles have improved since then.
Self driving cars will inevitably be a part of our future. This technology’s universal purpose is to make roads safer, travel easier, and more controlled. Most importantly though it is to be better than human drivers.