Self-driving cars used to be a fantasy of science/fiction. Much like the hoverboard or jetpack, the autonomous car was the 80s movies’ way of depicting the future.
So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to realize that, just as hoverboards and jetpacks are starting to show up on the market, self-driving cars are beginning to become a contemporary reality.
The huge annual tall of car accidents, collision injuries, and crash fatalities has created demand for safer and more reliable vehicles. Auto manufacturers are installing gadgetry such as sensors and cameras to warn drivers of potential accidents. Carmakers such as Tesla, Toyota, and General Motors have begun to take their vehicle designs in a new direction to eliminate dangerous driver error altogether. The interesting thing about this new direction is that instead of adding “helpers” for the driver, they’re trying to phase out the real problem—the driver himself. That’s because 94 percent of car accidents are caused by human error.
Benefits of a Computer Driver
A recent Time magazine article delved into the controversial debate of autonomous vehicles and came to the conclusion that, simply put, “computers are better drivers than humans.”
Now, anyone who has ever thrown his phone in frustration or thought about taking a baseball bat to his computer can have doubts that computer technology is infallible. To be fair, no one claims that computers are perfect. However, the precision and focus of a computer is far more reliable than easily distracted humans can muster.
Although computers can have their own types of glitches, a car’s computer can maintain the following 100 percent of the time (unlike human drivers):
- Speed. Computers have much more precise control over acceleration and speed. As a human must gauge the amount of pressure placed on the gas and continuously adjust that pressure—sometimes putting too much—a computer can mathematically determine the perfect amount of pressure to follow the speed limits. In addition to ensuring that the law is obeyed, keeping an exact speed also helps increases fuel efficiency.
- Focus. A computer will maintain 100 percent focus at all times while also having the added advantage of being able to view a complete 360-degree area around the vehicle. Furthermore, unlike a human, a computer can’t take become distracted, let hunger or anger affect its judgment, fall asleep (unless told to do so), or be influenced to make a poor driving decision.
- Sobriety. A computer can’t accidentally get drunk or lose its ability to drive. It doesn’t need to try and sober up before it takes control or convince itself that it’ll be fine to drive. It is always alert, sober, and in control.
Taking Control or Taking Our Freedom?—You Decide
What’s your take on the self-driving car? Do you feel that a computer can make safer choices than you? Do you think that you can put your faith in the reliability of a computer? Would you feel confident allowing your child to ride in a car where you weren’t in control? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by leaving a few comments in the section provided. We’re eager to hear what you have to say about the future of vehicle safety and control.