Is Technology Always Better For Us?
(ThyBlackMan.com) If we want to put it in a simple language, drivers are more or less causing all the problems on the road. According to a government report, human error is responsible for more than 90 percent of the crashes that take place on the roads of America. Where is artificial intelligence when you need it?
Traffic rules are made for the safety of drivers as well as those who are in close proximity to them. All these accidents see people fighting with each other for damages and control. Thousands of lawsuits are filed, attorneys like Siegfried & Jensen are called and claims are settled. All this and more can be avoided in a perfect world where everyone obeyed the law, but sadly that is not the case.
The last decade saw a push being made towards autonomous and self-driving cars. Some of the largest and most advanced automobile companies are racing against each other to break through this new and emerging sector.
Humans are prone to make all sorts of errors while driving on the road. This is because there are so many things that are seeking their attention at once. Mobile phones, traffic, signals, sign boards, GPS, and more.
In such a situation, the ideal driver is not a human being but a computer. A computer-operated car is going to function exactly as it is programmed to function. The computer is not going to be distracted by the notification sounds made by a smartphone; it is not going to get confused with maps and signs on the road. All these obstacles are going to be removed.
But are we really ready to entrust our lives and properties in the hands of a computer? The technology is not ready yet, however industry leaders are saying that it will be in a span of around 5 years. This means that the end users, human beings need to be educated on the merits and demerits of using a self-driving car. It is necessary to understand the concept, how it works and what should be done in case of a contingency. This is required to ensure the safety of the end user.
Industry leaders like Google, Uber, Apple, Ford (and do not confuse Ford with GM, GM is the car company that needed a bailout) and others are currently investing heavily in sensors, mapping technology, GPS, and artificial intelligence to develop a solution that can be replicated and deployed on a commercial level for mass consumption. For now, the technology is not fully operational and we still have some time on our hands to grasp the concept as well as the consequences of using this new form of traveling.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of self-driving cars:
Better safety – Humans make mistakes and that is what makes us human in the first place. Self-driving cars are going to provide better safety as they will remove all these hurdles from the equation. There are issues like alcohol, racing, slow reaction, diseases, fatigue, aggressiveness, anger, lack of experience, and so many others factors at play, and all these are problems will be sorted out making driverless-cars the obvious choice.
Accidents happen – We have been led to believe that accidents happen. We have taken this for granted and while this may sound true, it doesn’t have to be the case. The advantage of self-driving cars is that for example, if 10 percent of the cars are self-driving cars, then accidents would reduce by 1,000 per annum resulting in $38 billion in economic savings. The study was conducted by Eno Center for Transportation.
In case the number is bumped from 10 percent to 90 percent, the number of lives that could be saved would be around 21,700 per annum resulting in an economic benefit of around $447 billion.
Traffic woes – In the same study, the Eno Center of Transportation also stated that self-driving cars are going to be better equipped at reducing congestion by platooning the traffic. What this means is that the cars will drive at very close proximity to each other at uniform speeds. This will be made possible due to the fact that all the cars are being controlled by computers equipped with sensors. This will reduce wastage of time, gas waste, and congestion.
Cost – The cost of the car will increase because these cars will be required to be equipped with additional sensors, computers, computing requirements, and more in order to achieve self-driving status.
Hackers – A lot of experts have pointed out the threats these cars poses with respect to hackers. What happens when these self-driving cars are hacked? This could lead to a new wave of crimes like hijacking, theft, accidents, kidnapping, and extortion and all this could be accomplished from a remote location.
Data collection – A car that is being driven by a computer will carry a lot of data from its surroundings as well as from its owner, and many people are wary when it comes to data collection. Auto Alliance Survey found out that 75 percent respondents are concerned about their personal data being shared with and without their permission.
Staff Writer; Paul Fuller