THE GROWING EMERGENCE OF SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES
About: Self-driving vehicles are those cars or trucks which pilots itself and doesn’t require a human operator to take control over the steering wheel or handle any lever as it runs on its own. It also goes by the name of autonomous, robotic or driverless cars, it collaborates the sensors and uses 3-dimensional software to navigate and drive the automobile, it also directs and curb from oncoming vehicles and reaches the destination safely. However, it is still a new proposition but when put into effect, this technology will modify our transportation set-up where artificial intelligence takes over the wheels.
Like every device, autonomous vehicles also have their pros and cons respectively.
The Pros include:
- It benefits us economically by reducing the risk of car accidents. According to Google, nearly1.3 million people die in road crashes worldwide each year which in turn affects the economy to a great deal. A self-driving car will certainly reduce the number and upgrade the economy by minimizing the effects of road accidents and enhance life expectancy.
- As humans are not error-free, they attribute to rash driving, drinking or distracted steering, which leads to severe casualties. A car crash and injuries cause extreme trauma to the people that can range from physical disability to be bed-ridden, depression and the list goes on. By adopting autonomous vehicles we can eradicate all these disasters caused by humans.
- Some people are restricted to drive because of old age, physical disability or some other ailment. A driverless vehicle would a boon for them as they won’t have to depend on others to drive them to their desired location. These people can even start a profession where they can reach their destination on time without assistance or exposed to danger.
- Allotting autonomous cars to people will also keep in check the smooth flow of traffic and less traffic congestion that would result in the person inside the car engaging in productive occupation keeping them calm and relaxed during the entire ride.
- Self-driving trucks allow the driver to use the autopilot while covering a long distance. It is safe as long hours of driving can be tiresome and cause dizziness. Using this vehicle will prove to be safe for the driver and also led to fuel productivity. It’s similar to truck platooning, but advanced system software is used for modified controls and to avoid collisions.
- A major drawback of using autonomous vehicles is people becoming excessively dependent on the autopilot technology and leaving the driver’s seat by sitting at the back and doing other tasks. In case of emergencies like system or mechanical failure, the manual driver is the backup or “safety driver” that needs to intervene and take over the steering wheel. In 2018, a video went viral where a self-driving Uber car crashed killed a pedestrian while she was crossing the street. The sensors were not able to detect the woman even though she was visible in front of the car prior to the collision. The safety driver was not monitoring the road properly resulting in the catastrophe.
- Computer glitches or hacking can also be lethal for using this technology. Since every computer program runs on the risk of getting hacked, the same thing can happen with autonomous vehicles as well.
- Although it can be beneficial for the people in general, it would have a greater impact on the ones making a living operating the transportation vehicles. People driving taxis, trucks and also the delivery drivers working for diverse food joints will be replaced by autonomous vehicles leaving countless people losing their jobs and deprived of their main source of livelihood.
Changes in our life
Technology has taken half of the world over, so getting an autonomous car will add another feather to one’s cap. With the emergence of driverless automobiles, the roads and highways that had taken over the cities at large could be narrowed down because of fewer traffic jams making more space for pedestrians to walk. Gone will be the days when you had to depend on those old-fashioned garages to repair your car and keep you waiting for a prolonged time because electric cars only need to update their software.
It is a known fact that as soon as a person sits behind the wheel, he/she becomes vulnerable and resentful. Unlike the movie “Fast and Furious” that shows the road rage skills of the actors, we cannot drive like them and vandalize everything around endangering other’s lives. So it becomes quite difficult and strenuous to keep your cool, which you do not have to bear and can be evaded totally if you are not driving at all.
Impact on the environment
With driverless vehicles on the road, harmful gas emission and air pollution can be reduced by as much as 90% altogether. As you can see on the highways or roads, most manual cars have combustion engines that use gas and fuel emissions. The human drivers exploit these resources by driving at high speed, braking and reaccelerating the cars overly releasing massive emissions. Since most driverless cars are designed to be electric nowadays, it can travel long distance without needing to use the above gears which will surely impact our environment in a positive manner.
The National Highway Traffic Security Administration (NHTSA) has laid out six levels of automation but as of now, we have reached till the third level. The manufacturers of driverless vehicles have developed such technologies with the help of Google, Uber, Tesla, Nissan and are trying to reach the breakthrough keeping in mind all the standard procedures and complication before it can be purchased and used on public roads in all. The AI technology that is used in these vehicles is highly futuristic whereas the data input and GPS identifies obstructions and navigates easily. So it can be said that in the near future there will soon be a scenario where the roads will be filled with self-driving cars and trucks making everybody’s life congenial and hassle-free.
Written by – Shatarupa Ganguly
Read another article on the Importance of Positive Attitude
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