With advances in technology around driverless cars from government organisations as well as big players such as Tesla and Google, there always seems to be a lot of stories in the news about these exciting progressive solutions in automotive technologies.
We more and more often sing the praises of the potential of safer vehicles on the roads. And with facts like that in the USA nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day it is no wonder governments and the public are so interested in this innovative car technology.
But talk to friends and family and you will likely get some contrasting opinions on what people really think about this thrilling change. In this article, we take a look at the top challenges related to driverless vehicles from the perspective of the reasons why people fear them.
Lack of control
Like anything in life, people fear a lack of control over these hands-free vehicles. For example, a lot of people’s main reason for being afraid of flying is purely down to having completely no control over the aeroplane, even though they wouldn’t have a clue what to do if they did.
This is a reasonable claim for fearing driverless cars. But if you consider the room for human error (yes, even yours) the odds of safety are stacked in favour of autonomous vehicle.
Some of you may have read the last point and shouted “aha, but they do have a bad track record for crashes already!”. Again, good point, but there are two reasons this doesn’t hold up as a legitimate argument.
Firstly, this is a new technology that will get increasingly safer as they continue to test and tweak it. Secondly, statistically driverless cars are already safer than humans with many more miles driven per collision.
They cause travel sickness
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released a report that suggests that riding in self-driving cars might cause some riders to suffer motion sickness.
Some car passengers suffer from motion sickness as a rule anyway and take measures to remedy this. Also, to repeat an earlier point this is a new technology which is still developing. Uber have already published a patent for new technology that will illuminate this.
Missing out on fun
Driving is fun for some people. True, but there is no need for them to be worried.
There will likely always be a market for those that want to drive for fun. People still ride horses for fun, but we don’t really need them for transport any more.
They cannot make moral decisions
This is a very real reason for concern over driverless vehicles. Unlike human drivers, driverless cars are not able to make split second decisions based on situation. This can lead to moral issues in collisions as to whether to avoid one collision in favour of potentially less catastrophic collision.
This issue is one of the main concerns for the developers of this technology, meaning that in time algorithms will continue to improve to minimise these situations.
Living with consequences
In the same breath as the point above. Arguably these vehicles will not have a conscious and will not have to live with the consequences of any potential collisions they cause. This of course detaches them from human judgement and can throw up all kinds of potential issues with security and risk to life.
However, when judged in terms of the potential for good vs the potential for bad, it is clear that these are still brilliant inventions. Plus, as the tech develops there will be considerations taken to remedy any potential issues in this space.
They will still get into collisions
Yes. At least to start collisions will still happen. However, as we have discussed these are already far less than made by human drivers, in fact stats show that 94% of road collisions are a result of human error.
Collisions in driverless cars will only decrease as the technology develops and more smart cars of this type are on the road, working together to keep everyone safe.
Having a telephone conversation in public. Sitting on an engine with wheels sticking out of it. Taking photos of yourself. These are all examples of things that were considered dorky, but are now widely accepted as normal. Anything new will go through this process before being accepted as normal by the masses – the same can be said for driverless cars.
They will cause mass unemployment
Again, a real concern with any technological advancements. Taxi drivers, lorry drivers and others may potentially lose jobs as a result of these developments. But with new technology comes new opportunity and like in any fast-moving economy those who adapt quickly will benefit greatly from them.
It will be the responsibility of the governments that push the use of this new technology to ensure that plans and training are in place for those that are at risk.
People don’t understand them
The real and most likely reason why people fear driverless cars is because they just don’t understand them and as a result don’t trust what they don’t understand. This can be remedied simply through understanding and education on the matter.
We can see that although there are some real and understandable fears over driverless cars, in fact they are going to benefit our society greatly. Although there are still some issues with the tech, they already are and will increasingly be safer, more efficient and easier ways to get about.