There can be no doubt that self driving cars are right up there when we talk about the future. And there is also no doubt they are very much part of the foreseeable future. The question is not whether they will be coming any time soon, but whether we are ready for them to arrive. Our cities need to change significantly to allow for the existence of driverless cars, because right now, we really do not have the infrastructure to allow mass numbers of driverless cars on the roads.
The engineering and architecture group, IBI, recently compiled a report which outlines the ways in which driverless cars can improve and address issues of the current transportation system. The report also touches upon the areas where driverless cars will pose a problem. In this article, we will also take a look at the positive and negative effects of driverless cars on the transportation system.
Pros of self driving cars
First of all, let us see how driverless cars will improve the system.
To begin with, it cannot be denied that autonomous cars will certainly decrease the incidence of accidents on the roads. First of all, since the cars will be in self driving mode, a number of safety features will be installed in them. A computer can be programmed to avoid all the dangerous situations, and will work according to them only.
Besides, a computer will not engage in any of the improper behavior that a human driver will be prone to making. According to a report, if you take human error out of the equation, roads become safer from accidents by almost 81 percent. The computer will be able to make a lot of calculations that a human will fail to do, such as gauging the distance between the cars, and the appropriate stopping distance, thus minimizing chances of accidents even further.
Less need for traffic monitoring
If automatic, driverless cars become the norm, then we can rest assured that there will be almost no need for traffic police. The police force can then be engaged in fighting more serious crimes instead of having to expend their energy in dealing with rash drivers and paring tickets.
Less hassle for drivers
Driverless cars will ensure that the passengers will be in a much more relaxed mode on the roads. They will have to pay very little attention to the roads and traffic conditions, and therefore can dedicate their time to other activities, such as catching up on work or with people.
Less traffic congestion
It is not just the individuals that stand to benefit from the self driving cars. A great many accidents occur due to traffic congestion on the roads, and autonomous cars will help reducing this considerably. Autonomous cars are equipped with the sensors that allow them to communicate with infrastructure like traffic lights and buildings, and this makes them more aware of the road conditions. This feature is even more enhanced by the fact that they have to interact with each other while on the roads, thus forming a platoon. This also keeps them updated about the road conditions, and they can minimize road congestion further.
Negative effects of self driving cars
All said and done, however, there are quite a few problems posed by self driving cars.
The biggest problem right now is an ethical or a legal one. While self driving cars are certainly safer than those driven by humans, they certainly do not eliminate the risks of accident altogether. In such a case, when can accident does occur, it would be difficult to place the blame on anyone in particular. The biggest reason behind this of course is the fact that there are no definite laws governing self driving cars at present. In case an accident does happen, who would be to blame- the car, the manufacturer, or the passenger?
Loss of employment
Yet another problem that the population might potentially face regarding self driving cars is that of human labor. Even today, a considerable number of people are employed as chauffeurs and drivers, and the introduction and normalization of autonomous cars will snatch their employment out of their hands completely. This will lead to widespread unemployment, which in turn will give rise to greater amounts of crime.
Loss of skill
Yet another possible danger of introducing autonomous cars is the reduction of skill. If driverless cars in the future become as common as human-driven cars are today, there is a distinct possibility that people will slowly completely forget how it is to drive. Slowly, driving licenses will fall out of vogue, and it is possible that driving will only remain restricted in the racetracks.
Like it or hate it, there is no denying that driverless cars are certainly on their way. We do know that these cars will take over someday, but it is yet to be seen whether we will be able to incorporate them in our lives seamlessly, with as few glitches as possible.