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Driverless cars, the way to go

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Driverless or autonomous cars have always been a favourite topic in science fiction but it looks like we might be able to drop the “fiction” part pretty soon. Some of the biggest names in car manufacturing have set estimated dates for when they will be releasing their versions of the autonomous car. Jaguar and Land Rover plan to release their fully-automated car in 2024, Nissan in 2020 and Google estimate that their vehicle will be ready as early as 2018. But why should we, as the average driver, care about this? Well, driverless cars are not only an exciting concept; they will change the world as we know it. Here are some good things that the adoption of autonomous vehicles will have as a result:

  1. Amount of car accidents will decrease: There’s no room for human error; no drunk driving, tired driving, sending messages while driving and other reckless behaviour that leads to injury or death. A driverless road will not mean the end of car accidents, there are other things that can go wrong- computer malfunction and external circumstances like weather for example- but the amount of collisions will drastically decrease.

  2. Better design means better safety: The windscreen is an essential part of any car but it is also the cause of very serious injury and death. On impact, people usually go flying through the glass. When there’s no driver, there’s no need for a windscreen. There’s also no need for seats to face forward or for the person in the car to sit in front, the “passenger” can sit anywhere in the car, even in the back, where it’s safer.

  3. Big changes in road layout and traffic rules: As mentioned before, there will no longer be room for human error which means that being transported in a car will be safer and thus speed limits can be decreased so you can get where you’re going much faster! Also, visibility on the roads will no longer be that important (e.g. hedges won’t need to be trimmed and there won’t need to be stop signs and streetlights everywhere) so more attention and funds can be given to the actual surface of the roads. Could this mean the end of potholes forever?

  4. Private transport accessible to more people: Children, the elderly and the handicapped will have access to go wherever they please, there will be no need to have a license.

  5. Work on the go: Sure, people try to do some work on the way to or back from the office but it’s not practical, you cannot hear anything when making a phone call on public transport, it’s impossible to write and there is no space for your computer and documents. Enter the autonomous vehicle, you can get so much work done while on the move that office hours will surely become less and family time will become more.

There’s still a bit of a wait before the autonomous car graces us in all its driverless glory but in the meantime, drive as much as you can, you might miss it when its gone.