Self Driving Cars – Are they the future or are they dangerous?
The concept of self-driving cars has been under exploration, development, tweaking, and redevelopment for more than a decade now. The moot question being asked by the automobile engineers, designers, technology researchers and inventors is that “whether self-driving cars are still a thing of the future or are they a usable technology of today?”
What are Self-driving cars?
A car that drives by itself with little or no human intervention is coined as the self-driven car, in simplest of the words.
A self-driving or an autonomous car as it is sometimes called is a combination of moving mechanical parts, environment & surrounding sensing sensors, control systems, on-board electronics and software to control the entire operation.
How do Self Driving cars drive?
The operation of a self-driving car is designed to imitate the process the way humans go through their driving routine.
After you start the self-driven car, the sensors deployed gather the information about the surrounding and environment. This information is mapped onto the GIS grid through the onboard GPS. This information is fed to the control system, which with the assistance of the onboard electronics and software drives the car.
The Self-driving cars – Is it too much of a leap into the future
Every development, whether technological or otherwise goes through a cycle of conceiving, designing, testing, production, on-field trials, certification, and acceptance. The cycle is in line with the mantra given by Darwin “Survival of the fittest”. And bypassing any of these steps always proves to have disastrous after effects.
Arguments in favor of self-driving cars
Most of the accidents happen because of the mistakes committed by the drivers. The argument in favor of the self-driving car lies in the fact that it is a robotic way of traveling, therefore, wouldn’t be subjected to fatigue, attention span etc., thereby shall drastically reduce the accidents on the road.
Being electronically secured the self-driving car is perceived to be almost theft proof. This would reduce the owners from unnecessary hassles & harassments and save insurance companies a lot of money. This may have a trickle effect in being the shot in the arm for paving the way for the reduction in insurance premiums across the board.
The traffic violations and the resulting traffic clogging is what we are all painfully aware of and have been privy to them during the course of driving. The self-driving car being technologically driven would drive and follow the traffic rules ‘by the book’ to the last T, this shall reduce the traffic congestion tremendously by make both the city & highway driving smooth. This would reap benefits in reducing travel times and expenses.
All these factors shall add up to helping in reduction of the total cost of ownership of cars.
Arguments against self-driving cars
Most of the arguments against self-driving cars present themselves in form of questions. Some of the pertinent questions are:
Self-driving cars are an inherently complex piece of robotics and use a fairly large amount of high-tech. Is the available technology evolved and mature enough to entrust a human life in the hands of a self-driving car?
Mass adoption would take how much time?
Are there any rules being drafted the world over especially addressing the self-driving cars?
What would be the role of law enforcement in a world being driven by self-driving cars?
How would insurance companies cover the self-driving cars?