Dilemmas of the Driverless Vehicle
We have a complicated relationship with the driverless car. The problem we have accepting it is not the reliability of the software or that we have to give up control; it’s the fact that many of us actually enjoy driving.
Yes, when we are clogged up in rush hour traffic or on a long monotonous stretch of motorway, there are probably more productive (and enjoyable) things we could be doing. However, Is this incentive enough to make you consider giving up the steering wheel? We use cars as a reflection of our personality, as fashion objects and even spend money watching other people drive very, very fast. Some of us even shun the idea of driving an automatic, so autonomous vehicles would be a definite no-go.
On the other end of the spectrum, we as humans are more susceptible to car accidents. We get sleepy, take risky moves to correct our mistakes, get easily distracted, and have a tendency to fiddle with all the in-car gadgets on-route. The blind spots we encounter are all but eliminated in a driverless car, which will neither get distracted nor need to rest. Despite this, half of us Brits are unwilling to become driverless car passengers and 16% confessed to feeling ‘horrified’ by the prospect of unmanned vehicles on the roads.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a driverless world:
- Fewer accidents on the road
- Less congestion
- Higher speed limits
- Less policing needed on the roads
- Minimal road signs
- Lower insurance
- Fuel savings
- Removal of constraints on those unable to drive
- Liability for damage
- Software reliability
- Hacking risk
- Loss of driver related jobs
- Lose of privacy
- Use as a weapon
- New legal framework required
- Passengers inexperienced if driving is required
With such blatant advantages, a world full of driverless cars may one day become commonplace. However before this, major security and safety hurdles will need to be tackled before many of us welcome the autonomous vehicle with open arms.