Self-driving cars have always been surrounded by controversy and debate. People have been fascinated with the idea of not having to drive themselves from or to work but at the same time, they are not quite comfortable with the idea of giving up control of a two-ton death machine moving at speeds of up to 100 mph. However, things are starting to change as autonomous technology develops at a rapid pace.
Future of autonomous tech
There is no doubt in my mind that self-driving cars will become mainstream one day, especially in the field of car-sharing services and transportation but more on that later. The main reason I think self-driving cars will be a common sight soon is progress. It is the next step in car technology. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities and applications that we had never thought of before.
There are a number of benefits of self-driving cars including the time that we save. Instead of driving to and from work, we would have more free time to focus on other important aspects of our lives. It will be better for our mental health as we leave the days of crawling at a painfully slow speed in a traffic jam behind. And accidents too will become a relic of the past.
The self-driving cars will bring a shift in the service sector as well, specifically in the ride-sharing world. Companies are always trying to reduce the cost and increase their profit margins. By removing the human element, and with that, the wages, companies like Uber and Lyft will be able to increase the profits margins by a lot. Uber is currently working on its own autonomous tech and have incentives to get such cars approved by the government as soon as possible.
Talking about approval and governments regulations, legal scholar Byrant Walker-Smith who has written extensively on the subject of autonomous technology says that self-driving cars ‘are probably legal in the United States.’
There is also something called the Autonomous Problem. In a nutshell, it says that autonomous technology will bring a lot of positive changes such as decreased private car ownership, increased freedom for the disabled, ecological benefits, etc. but at the same time, the technology would result in higher unemployment, greater wealth disparities, etc. Even though we haven’t talked about the autonomous problem in detail, it highlights two sides of the coin perfectly. It puts the pros and cons in perspective and shows the immense need of government regulation over a technology that will change so many things in our day to day lives.
The technology is developing at an incredible rate, and every day we get closer to a truly autonomous vehicle. Self-driving cars are now part of our future and we have to accept it. We have to make sure that when the technology is ready for use on public roads, we have necessary regulatory mechanisms that will ensure that the technology is not abused and that they pose no threat to the public (Even though I am of the view that autonomous cars will be safer on the road than their human counterpart, but the threats are beyond just the driving part).