Your children might never drive. Despite the initial shock factor this statement elicits, it doesn’t take long for the truth to sink in. For those that have already learned how to drive, it may be difficult to imagine relinquishing this freedom. But the reality is that self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles (AVs), are set to stage a technological coup over transportation as we know it.
The shift is already beginning. According to the Gates et al., (2017), “Major automakers have been investing billions in development, while tech players like Uber and Google’s parent company have been testing their versions in American cities.” While much of the technology behind self-driving cars is not yet perfect or complete, studies are proving that AVs will dramatically reduce the number of traffic accidents and deaths (Stewart, 2017). Even though the first fatal self-driving accident with the Tesla Model S last year aroused considerable fear, investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) concluded that the Autopilot on the car did not actually cause the passenger’s death (Stewart, 2017). Nevertheless, automakers and tech developers are working on improving safety features to further allay fears.
Some other hurdles that AVs will have to overcome are the threat they pose to numerous jobs and the risks they carry in light of potential hackers (Chopra, 2017). According to Chopra (2017), “Soon technological capability won’t be the greatest impediment to adoption; societal friction will be.” But even among these challenges, few people question or deny that self-driving cars are the future. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to advance and permeate our lives, AVs are no exception.
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Chopra, A. (2017, Jul 22). What’s taking so long for driverless cars to go mainstream? Fortune.
Gates, G., Granville, K., Markoff, J., Russell, K., & Singhvi, A. (2017, Jun 6). The race for self-driving cars. The New York Times.
Stewart, J. (2017, Jan 20). After probing Tesla’s deadly crash, feds say yay to self-driving. Wired.