The future is coming, and it has some big changes in store for us. One of those changes comes in the form of self-driving cars. While self-driving vehicles have the opportunity to prevent accidents, they can also affect society in different ways. Find out everything you need to know about self-driving cars.
The Future of Self-Driving Cars
While you may think that an automated vehicle is a thing of science fiction, it’s close to becoming a reality. According to experts, every major car manufacturer will have one by the early 2020s. It may not be long before you see automated vehicles taking over the street. Although this can mean good things for driving safety, there are some unknowns. Many people find themselves wondering how self-driving vehicles will change the world.
One of the biggest attractions of self-driving cars is the ability to prevent accidents. And accidents do happen. In 2015, more than 35,000 people died in car accidents. Those accidents occurred because of human error and an inability to predict unexpected events. Many times, drivers find themselves distracted. As a result, they cause an accident. By taking human error out of the equation and incorporating some amazing technology, scientists have created a way to limit car accidents.
One study showed that about 40% of auto accidents with fatalities occurred because of distracted driving, drunken driving, or speeding. Self-driving vehicles remove any chance of those errors from occurring. When you remove the three factors that contribute the most to car accidents, you get fewer accidents.
Although it’s impossible to say for sure how much of an impact automated vehicles can have on accidents, the future looks promising. According to one research project, self-driving vehicles could drop the number of car accident fatalities by 90%. Every decade that would mean about 300,000 lives are spared.
Although saving lives is a priority, there are other benefits to using automated vehicles. For one, there’s the time that you can save. Drivers who use automated vehicles can save about 50 minutes a day. And there’s also no need to waste time looking for parking spots. Without the need to find parking, you can save time and prevent stress.
The Problems With Driverless Cars
While it’s true that self-driving cars can save lives, they aren’t without fault. For one, human error still can cause accidents. In a six-month period, four out of 48 driverless vehicles were involved in car accidents. And in every one of those accidents, human error was the cause. In one of those accidents, the car wasn’t even in self-driving mode.
The Trust Factor
One of the biggest problems with automated vehicles is with the demand. Drivers don’t want to lose control; they don’t trust self-driving cars more than they trust themselves. In one recent study, only 15.6% of people liked the idea of a car that was fully in control. Getting people to embrace the idea of self-driving vehicles may be more difficult than you would think. Until people trust them completely, drivers may not be willing to give up control. If people aren’t willing to drive them, the roads won’t be any safer.
Like any other new computer-driven technology, self-driving vehicles may be vulnerable to hacking. While this may seem like a far-fetched notion, it is possible. Hackers were able to turn Amazon Echo into a wiretap. So, it’s not impossible to say that hackers could cause havoc with automated vehicles.
In fact, researchers are looking into the possibility of hacking self-driving vehicles. At the University of Washington, researchers tried to manipulate the vehicles. They attempted to confuse automated vehicles into misidentifying road signs. However, their methods weren’t as hi-tech as you might imagine. They used stickers that they printed out from a regular computer. Then, they put the stickers on existing road signs. When the vehicles saw the signs, they fell for the trickery. Instead of seeing the real sign, they only detected the sticker. Depending on how someone manipulated a sign, the results could be disastrous. For example, a car could think a stop sign is actually a speed limit sign.
Although hacking is a possibility, security teams are looking into preventative measures. With a little effort, self-driving vehicles can be safe from hackers. There will always be a risk of hacking, but all new technology faces that same risk.
Whenever automation occurs, job loss becomes a possibility. The real of vehicles is no exception. Many professional drivers could find themselves out of business if self-driving vehicles take off. In fact, millions of drivers could be out of work. One report shows that the professional driving niche could lose about 6.2 million jobs worldwide by 2030. With so many people out of work, the economy could take a hit.
What does the future hold?
It’s impossible to say what self-driving cars can do for us. However, there is a great deal of potential. And you don’t have to wait a long time to find out; self-driving vehicles are no longer things of the future.