Self-driving or driverless cars are quickly becoming a reality. In the readings for Chapter 4, four advantages to driverless cars were presented. If you were the recipient of a driverless car, would this technology be advantageous for you? Why, or why not? Which advantage would benefit you the most?
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Chapter 4 Below
Imagine how a self-driving car will change the lives of a typical family. A self-driving car could allow Dad to review sales reports while “driving” to work. He’s much less stressed outâ€”and more productiveâ€”during his commute than he was with his old car. The self-driving car could then drop off the kids at schoolâ€”without Dad in the carâ€”and return home to take Mom to work.
After work the family goes shopping and is dropped off curbside at the store. No need to park anymore. It’s safer too. While shopping, Dad gets a message from his college-aged daughter that she needs the car sent to pick her up from the airport. Dad’s glad he won’t have to drive all the way out there.
Dad remembers when he had to drive himself. It was a long and painful process. Now the car plans the route for him, fills itself up with gas, communicates with intersections so he never gets a red light, and reroutes itself if there’s an accident or traffic. Most importantly, he doesn’t get mad at other drivers. Traveling is just easier now.Later the family plans a vacation to a distant locale. Taking the self-driving car is the way to go. No airport security lines, family members don’t have to get frisked by overzealous TSA agents, they get comfortable seats that face each other, they don’t have to pay for their bags, and they don’t have to rent a car when they get there. Plus, they can leave anytime they like.
Sometimes it’s nice to leave for vacation at night and sleep while you’re “driving.” Driving isn’t bad when you don’t actually drive.
Self-driving Cars Make Things Cheaper
You’ve seen how a self-driving car can make your life easier. But what about cost? Will it be more expensive or less expensive than the car you have now?
Self-driving cars will probably be much less expensive over time than your current car. Early adopters will pay a premium when self-driving cars first hit the market, but that’s true of most new products.
Cost savings will show up in several ways. In the above scenario, you may have noticed that the family had only one car. Self-driving cars will be used more effectively than cars are used now. Most cars sit dormant for 22 hours a day. Sharing a self-driving car could eliminate the need to have multiple cars. That’s a big cost savings.
You’ll see more cost savings because a self-driving car will drive better than you. You’ll save on fuel because it will drive more efficiently (less braking, revving the engine, and street racing!). You will avoid costly traffic tickets, parking tickets, and DUI citations.
Your car insurance will drop dramatically. It may be so low that you won’t even need it anymore. In a report about the effect of self-driving cars on the insurance industry KPMG estimated that accident frequency will drop by 80 percent by the year 2040. Subsequently, the personal automobile industry will shrink to 40 percent of its current size.
They’re probably right. Self-driving cars will probably take a big chunk out of the $150B, paid each year in car insurance premiums. And they should. Your future self-driving car will be safer because its crash avoidance systems will apply the brakes before you’re even aware of a problem. It will be able to know the exact locations, velocities, and routes of all cars within the vicinity. Automobile accidents may become a thing of the past.
Self-driving Cars Will Make Things Safer
Yes, you read that rightâ€”safer. Currently, 90 percent of motor vehicle crashes are caused by human error. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 3 to 33. Spending time driving may be the most dangerous thing you do all day.
Your car will be able to see better than you, react more quickly than you, and have better information about your driving environment. It will be able to communicate with other cars around it, dynamically analyze traffic patterns, avoid construction sites, and contact emergency services if needed.
Self-driving cars will mean safer driving, fewer accidents, fewer drunk drivers, fewer road-rage incidents, and fewer autoâ€“pedestrian accidents. Cars will be able to go faster with fewer accidents. In the future, manual driving may be a risky and expensive hobby.
Self-driving Cars Will Disrupt Businesses
Self-driving cars have the potential to disrupt well-established industries. Self-driving cars may mean fewer cars on the road. Fewer cars on the road may mean fewer cars sold (transportation), fewer auto loans written (finance), fewer automobile insurance policies underwritten (insurance), fewer auto parts sold due to fewer accidents (manufacturing), and fewer parking lots (real estate). If they didn’t have to drive, consumers might take more trips by car than by plane or train (transportation).
The production of self-driving cars will mean more jobs for engineers, programmers, and systems designers. There will be more computer hardware, sensors, and cameras in the vehicle. Corporations may not completely see the far-reaching effects of self-driving cars on existing industries.
How will self-driving cars disrupt your personal life? Suppose you get married in a few years and have a child. Will your child ever drive a car? Will driving a “manual” car be too costly? Your potential offspring may never learn how to drive a car. But that may not be too strange. Do you know how to ride a horse? Your ancestors did.
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