Self driving cars used to be something that was only in seen in futuristic movies or TV shows. The notion of cars zooming around on their own with their human occupants free to do other things seemed unlikely to cross over into reality. That was until the last few years when several companies, including Google, began developing the technology that could make cars self driving.
As of today, self driving cars are still in their infancy and only a few states, including Nevada, Florida, Michigan, California and Washington, DC. are offering the ability to try them out. But as we inch closer to making self driving cars readily available, there is plenty of debate growing over this unique use of technology. And not surprisingly, there are a number of positives and negatives that can be applied to the idea of cars that drive themselves.
Self Driving Cars – The Benefits
The most obvious pros are the accessibility to transportation that this technology would afford. Physically disabled persons, the elderly and others who might not otherwise be able to drive would be able to get around on their own with the use of self driving cars. And having a car that can drive itself would mean that fewer people would actually need to get driver’s licenses, which could cut down on the headache of all those long lines at the DMV.
Another considerable advantage is the ability to cut down on traffic accidents by eliminating human error. With computers in control, distracted driving and drunk driving, two of the biggest causes of most accidents would no longer be a factor. By taking human error out of the equation, you can seriously cut back on the number of accidents as well as eliminating instances of road rage and other driving issues directly related to human input.
Self Driving Cars – The Drawbacks
Of course, for any issue there are always two sides of the coin and self driving cars are no exception. The very computer technology that makes the idea of a self driving car possible could actually be its biggest drawback. As with any computer, your car’s computer could be open to hacking, which could allow for a separate party to take over control of your car or to tap into your car’s computer and access a wide range of personal information.
At the same time, the tendency of computers to crash could leave individuals riding in the cars, not to mention others on the road around them, in a great deal of danger. This could be particularly true if people start bypassing the need for a driver’s license and aren’t prepared to take over behind the wheel should something go wrong with the car.
The insurance industry is also faced with a whole new range of issues related to accidents involving self driving cars. Insurance companies will have to decide where to assign liability in the event of an accident, a potentially major headache for them.
So as you can see, while the idea of self driving cars is, in many respects, an exciting one it is not without its down side. As Google and other companies step up their work on technology, these and other issues will have to be addressed so that these cars can be eased onto our roadways with as little trouble as possible. Given the speed with which we seem to develop technological advances, though, it is safe to say that the age of the self driving car is just around the corner.
How do you feel about the issue? Drop us a line and let us know. We’ll be sharing our readers opinions over the next few months.