Drivers Unwanted: Examining the Benefits of Driverless Cars

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You hoped the day would come. You hoped the promise of science fiction books and movies would hold true. You dreamed that a modicum of futuristic technology would appear in your life. Here it is: driverless cars are poised to change the way we drive. Not a matter of if but when, widespread driverless technology is anticipated in the next 10-15 years.There are five main areas where driverless cars will write the future of driving.

  • Design
  • Parking
  • Safety
  • Environment
  • Cost

Let us take a closer look at each area.

Design

Driven by technology, driverless cars integrate existing information with real-time road data. The Google car, for example, has a roof-mounted Velodyne 64-beam laser. The laser creates a three-dimensional map of the car’s surroundings and combines that information with existing maps to orient the vehicle. The car also has several radars on its bumpers, as well as multiple cameras and a GPS. Driverless cars are designed with technology in mind, rather than aesthetics, but the technology is essential and impressive.

Parking

It happens to every driver: the slow, serpentine slog through a crowded parking lot. With a craned neck, the search for a parking spot can be agonizing. Driverless cars eliminate the hassle of parking. With driverless technology, cars will drop passengers off at the desired destination and locate parking without human help. The search for one’s car in a crowded lot is also eliminated, with driverless cars summoned with a smartphone app. With a touch or swipe, a driverless car is at the ready.

Safety

The simple truth is that people make mistakes and. In all aspects of life this is true, but it is especially true behind the wheel. People are prone to distractions; driverless cars are not. Driverless technology makes the distracted driver a thing of the past. The radio, the phone, the passengers are all unable to be distractions to a driverless vehicle.

Driverless technology is immune from the impulse to operate a car at dangerous speeds. There is never a risk of intoxication on the road with driverless technology. In the United States, statistics show that drivers are responsible for 30,000 deaths annually. That number is staggering. Driverless technology, even in its earliest stages, is far safer. Google’s efforts in driverless technology have resulted in two small fender-benders. It is a safe bet that Google will perfect driverless technology the way it perfected search engine technology. Now, when you ask Jeeves, it will most likely be for a ride in a driverless car.

Environment

Driverless cars will be good for the environment. By eliminating human drivers, driverless cars will operate at optimum efficiency. Whereas a human driver may compromise fuel consumption by braking and accelerating irregularly, driverless cars will maintain constant rates of speed. Efficient fuel use will have a positive impact on the environment.

Consider, too, that driverless cars will be tailored for specific driving functions. Cars will be geared to city driving and highway driving. Therefore, electricity becomes a viable power source for urban vehicles that will be driven for short times and can be charged easily between journeys. Highway cars can be powered by liquid fuel; as green technology advances, it is feasible that driverless cars will have little to no impact on environmental quality. In addition, the environment will benefit from the reality that driverless technology will likely result in fewer cars being on the road.

Costs

New technology is costly. With driverless cars, there is a school of thought that the number of people who own cars will dwindle. It is practical to envision one driverless car per family. In a single-car scenario, a driverless car may make fiscal sense as a family investment.

Driverless cars will also have a significant impact on insurance premiums. With fewer accidents and no human operators, people will save on car insurance payments. It is also possible that fleets of driverless cars will operated by companies, providing fare-based services to passengers. Less obvious is the impact of driverless cars on businesses and industries. Drivers and fuel costs are passed along to consumers. With driverless technology, businesses and industries will be able to be more cost-effective.

In Conclusion

Driverless cars will redefine travel. By eliminating human errors, driverless cars promise safe and efficient travel. Parking will be easier than ever. The environment will benefit. As technology improves, driverless cars will become widespread. With the future of driving poised to undergo a fundamental shift, it is clear that driverless cars will change everything.

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