It is said that driving is a privilege, but it can seem like a terrible chore at times. In places like Southern California, the traffic is terrible, and often times driving a few miles can take much longer than it should. While we can’t take all the bad drivers off the road, what if technology created a world where there was no such thing as a bad driver? That’s why the idea of a self-driving car is so exciting, but it is also somewhat terrifying to give up the control of the car.
Self-driving cars seem like science fiction, but they’re actually more real than you think. In 2010 Google made an announcement to *launch their very first driverless car. The main goal of the project is to make driving safer, more enjoyable and more efficient. Their first model car has completed more than 300,000 miles of computer-led driving, gathering great experiences and an overwhelming number of enthusiastic supporters.
Many car companies and research organizations and universities have developed working prototypes of automated vehicles. These include Nissan,Toyota, Audi, and universities like Oxford and Stanford. As of February 2013, three U.S. states, Nevada, Florida and California have passed laws permitting driverless cars.
These driverless cars still require a real person behind the wheel to be able to override the computer of the self driving car. Once the technology and safety is proven it is expected that there won’t be the need for a driver behind the wheel.
In 2012, Google released a video of one of their self-driving cars doing a test run by taking a blind person for a spin in the car. It showed the clear benefits of such technology by driving the man to run his daily errands at the dry cleaners, to the pharmacy to pick up his prescriptions and even to Taco Bell for lunch. The drive took place on a carefully programmed route with another person sitting in the passenger seat.
With autonomous cars, the technology promises fewer road deaths, faster travel, and more fuel efficiency. Since human error is the reason for most car accidents, technology can resolve this issue. Put enough of these cars on the road and they can talk to each other to keep a safe distance between each other and thus cut down on traffic jams.
It is clear that *autonomous vehicles are coming. The cost to manufacture these cars today is about $150,000 because of the technology being used. Once the technology and safety is proven, and costs brought down, *adoption will happen fast. They will redefine travel.
benefit: an argument in favor of something
Special Thanks to David Winsor