Self-Driving Cars

Jul 16


(*Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson)

From Silicon Valley to Australia, Germany, Great Britain, and many other places across the globe, the thought of driverless cars has been booming within the minds of innovative thinkers. Now, with technological advances, this is becoming more and more of a reality with each passing day.

Today, our generation is focused on new advances for the future—we like to know what’s next, versus what is right now. With cell phones, tablets, and other devices such as these being our “hip attachments,” it has never been more obvious that the public is at a constant want for more. To fulfill the world’s technological desires and advances, the project is autonomous cars.

“Previous generations found freedom and flexibility through the car. But Generation Ys find their freedom and flexibility by staying connected to their friends, family and workplaces through the carious information devices—like their laptops or iPhones. They can stay connected on a bus or a train. They can bring the office with them. They can bring their study with them. They can bring their friends with them. They can’t if they’re driving.” (Peter Newman, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

What many companies are promoting with these driverless cars is that many people will get back time they lose while they are driving. According the Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, he claims that these self-driving cars have the potential to “change our lives, give use more green space, mobility, fewer hours wasted…The average American spends 50 minutes commuting. Imagine if you got that back.”

On top of the time you will gain back in your busy day, autonomous car promoters also say these vehicles will be safer. Up to 97% of car crashes are due to human error. This happens due to a mixture of distracted driving, inexperience, aggressive behaviors, etc. Companies who are promoting these driverless cars feel as if putting computers in charge of more things in our life will end up being beneficial and cut down fatal mistakes caused by human errors.

“The hope is that turning more mundane things over to automation would result in an environment where people’s minds wandering doesn’t lead to tragic results,” states chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, David Zuby.

Although there are many reasons to have these driverless cars hit the roadways, they are not fully ready to be thrown into the world of driving. Many Americans, including those apart of the well-known Auto Alliance, across the board still have their concerns.

According to a poll by the Auto Alliance, a Washington trade group that represents 12 of the largest carmakers in the United States, 81% is concerned computer hackers will have the ability take control of these driverless vehicles and cause ruckus. Ryan Calo, a law professor from the University of Washington and co-founder of the Legal Aspects of Autonomous Driving Center at Stanford, says that even if these cars are said to be safer, there is still a lack of human judgment, which is what worries many.

“The first time that a driverless vehicle swerves to avoid a shopping cart and hits a stroller, someone’s going to write ‘robot car kills baby to save groceries,” states Calo. “It’s those kinds of reasons you want to make sure this stuff is fully tested.”

And those in the autonomous car industry agree. To make sure this technology is steadily produced and eased into the world, Google and other companies are introducing driverless advances into modern vehicles. For example, the next time you step foot on a dealership lot to buy a new car, chances are you will have the option of purchasing a vehicle with some of these robotic technologies, such as parking assist and automated braking.

2 comments

  1. Brent /

    Good article…. And very interesting topic. Well done Michelle

    • Michelle von Biela /

      Thank you so much, Brent! It amazes me what technology can do these days…

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