The Pros and Cons of Autonomous Vehicles

The Pros and Cons of autonomous vehicles

If there’s one topic that’s been garnering a horde of attention in the past half-decade, it is about how society is going to make roads safer. According to the CDC deaths from car accidents happen to around 33,000 people annually. A major portion of these accidents are due to human error, thus were preventable. In fact, an alarming number of them are not due to lack of skill when driving, but instead gross negligence and distracted driving.

This leads us directly into this post – Here are a few Advantages to having self driving cars rolled out as the main stream mode of transportation.

Human Drivers are at Fault for Most Car Accidents

Some car accidents are a direct result from failure within the car’s mechanics, however more often than not people are the most dangerous things on the road. Autonomous vehicles are considered to be much more defensive drivers than normal drivers. These computer operated vehicles take out the bad behaviors that most humans exhibit when behind the wheel.

Since around 81 percent of crashes exhibit human error, computers would take a huge amount of danger off the road. These computers use very sophisticated algorithms to determine where it is most appropriate to stop, and maintain a calculated distance between vehicle to vehicle in order to decreases the chances of car accidents quite dramatically.

Economic Benefits of Self Driving Cars

Once self-driving vehicles are fully integrated into the transportation system, economists project that the economic benefit to society will be extremely noticeable. Car crashes cost billions of dollars per year so those savings alone save states millions of dollars each.

Self-Driving Cars will also create more efficient humans. These cars will be able to sense other cars around them and communicate accordingly, therefore bumper to bumper traffic and potential gridlock will be a thing of the past. Automatic braking and consistent distance between vehicles will allow speed limits to be increases as the likelihood of crashes due to speeding will be drastically reduced.

Environmental Benefits of Autonomous Vehicles

 Many businesses that are looking to implement self driving cars are doing so with the goal of eradicating the need for gas guzzling combustion engines. These electric vehicles would drastically reduce carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere – Contributing to ever growing problems such as global warming. Excessive speed, braking, reaccelerating, release massive amounts of gas emissions from a car. Autonomous cars will be travelling at consistent speeds, therefore minimizing the need for braking and accelerating.

Let’s Look at some potential Disadvantages of using electric vehicles.

Whether Autonomous Vehicle can be “Moral Machines” 

When an accident is imminent, sometimes the driver has a split-second choice to make which will change the outcome of the accident. The driver has the opportunity to break, accelerate, turn right/left etc.. Now these machines are going to have to make split second decisions as if a human would – but what if it is put in a difficult moral situation?

For example – Say a person runs into the street in front of a car moving at high speeds, leaving no time for the car to apply the brakes before a collision is to occur. A human driver could either hit the person or swerve into a concrete wall travelling at 70 miles/hour. The question of what a self-driving car would do in this situation is a difficult one, leaving it up to computer scientists to potentially be programming the fate of people’s lives into the mind of a vehicle – Pretty scary right?

Potential Loss of Jobs due to autonomous vehicles

 There are middle class workers that will be dreading the takeover of self-driving cars. These are people that make a living operating vehicles (Truck drivers, taxi drivers etc..). Replacing human controlled driving would drive these people right into unemployment. Not only would it affect people who physically operate these vehicles but also people who work at rest stops, toll booths, and other jobs that service human drivers.

Initial Expense

As with any new technology these types of vehicles take years to develop. The cost of which is likely to be astronomical at first. Some people are estimating that the cost of these vehicles would be close to $300,000 per car. It will likely take some time before this technology is development enough for the average person to be able to afford.

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