There are always some fears and concerns when a new technology emerges. For self-driving cars, it’s along the lines of “what if something goes wrong and the car crashes?” or “I like driving and I don’t want to give that up!” I imagine that a lot of testing will go into easing the first concern and hopefully there will still be the option of driving manually for the other.
I don’t know what the final regulations will be, but just think of the possibilities!
Elderly people who no longer feel confident driving, or driving long distances (or who no longer have the necessary visual acuity or reflexes), will be able to get out and about. So could people with reduced mobility and vision impairment. And people who don’t have a driver’s license for one reason or another. That’s really huge. Especially for someone living in a rural area without access to public transportation or taxis.
If you’re traveling and are unsure about driving in a new place or on the “wrong” side of the road, the car can get you around.
If you’re tired or not feeling well (or drank too much), your car can get you home safe.
If you’re a nervous driver, you can let the car drive. I don’t enjoy driving in the city so I usually grab a ride with someone or take the subway. This way, I could go out and do more things on my own. And after driving a route a few times, I would feel more confident doing it myself.
Also, since the majority of accidents are due to human error, the number of accidents would go way down.
If you think about it, the technology has been coming for a while now. Some cars are now equipped with collision avoidance systems, where the car will apply the brakes or steer if it senses an impending collision. Some have Lane Keeping Systems, to detect if you’re drifting into another lane. And Lexus even has a Closed Eye Detection system which sounds an alarm if it senses that you’re falling asleep. I think we can all agree that these are very practical. It’s only a few more steps to let cars drive on their own.
Like any technology, some people will remain skeptical while others will be excited about the possibilities. I think the pros far outweigh the cons so far. I’m interested in seeing how it all plays out.