When it comes to technology, sometimes it takes people a bit of time to adapt to a revolutionary new concept. And in the case of self-driving cars, many people have been reluctant to accept all of the groundbreaking new changes that are making autonomous vehicles possible. The “brains” of these vehicles are being engineered by some of the smartest people on the planet, and there is a serious financial impetus to get self-driving cars going. So why are some naysayers insisting that we won’t ever have self-driving cars en masse? In some cases, fear is a major factor. After all, the media has been covering the case of autonomous cars with a sensationalistic tone. Realizing that some Americans may not necessarily feel safe about self-driving cars roaring down the street, they have been playing up any accidents and other incidents that may set drivers on edge.
Just a few months ago, an Arizona pedestrian was killed when she was hit by an autonomous vehicle operated by Uber’s fleet. Immediately, the company took action and pulled their autonomous cars from the road. In the wake of the incident, Uber’s self-driving team has been forced to reevaluate everything about their fleet of vehicles. Although official reports have not emerged about the accident, it is believed that a problem with sensors triggered this fatal incident. But Uber is bound and determined to get autonomous vehicles back on the road. Although self-driving cars may yield some dangers, it is important to note that human error is the main driver of car accidents. If we were able to eliminate the human factor from driving, chances are that roads would be a lot safer.
Right now, engineers are taking everything into consideration as they craft their autonomous vehicles. Some of their concerns are more related to practicality and ergonomics than to safety. For instance, how can we prevent carsickness while people are riding in autonomous cars? Many passengers report feeling nauseous when someone else is driving, so this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed before self-driving vehicles take to the highways.
However, we must realize that financial considerations are what will drive this technology forward. For instance, Uber has dealt with passengers being harassed by drivers in their vehicles, as well as a plethora of other human-related issues. If humans were subtracted from the equation, it is believed that liability would go down a great deal. Many industry analysts believe that we will have fleets of autonomous trucks faster than we will have autonomous cars for commuters. This is because big companies want to save on their shipping costs, and truck drivers are a huge expense. By removing the drivers, these frugal CEOs will save a lot on their bottom line. With many funds being funneled into the technology to make this happen, it’s just a matter of time before you see a driverless car or truck rolling down your own street.