Self-Driving Cars Have Arrived
As these vehicles mainstream into world economies, it’s anticipated that a single car will be able to transport various people on multiple errands throughout the course of a day, as opposed to multiple vehicles being shared by a given family. This is according to a study released by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The institute estimates that vehicle ownership could decline by as much as 43%. Modern cars, right now, spend countless hours parked and unused waiting for their owners who are working, in the home, etc. With the development of self-driving cars, this could change so that one car fits the needs of multiple family members.
While the number of cars per family could decrease, the use of the cars people do have will greatly increase. For example, one family could use a self-driving car to take one parent to work. It could return home to transport children to school. Then, return again home to transport another parent either to work or on daily errands. At the end of the day, the vehicle could be utilized to pick kids up from school, transport them to after school activities, and to pick up the working parent.
Because these self-driving cars would be traveling more per day than most cars on the road right now, it would change the average miles traveled from approximately 11,000 to over 20,000 per year for one car. This, in turn, leads to the cars wearing out faster.
Self-driving cars open up a new avenue of travel freedom for children and the elderly. Instead of needing a licensed driver to transport them, they will be able to go to and from school, the grocery store, or medical appointments without a human driver.
Because of their computerized abilities to transport, this could possibly free up valuable time for entrepreneurs so that they spend less time driving and more time working. In addition, it will also free up more time for relaxation and recreational activities.
Another key advantage lies in safety. Because self-driving cars would be operated by computers, they’d maintain a 100% awareness of their surroundings 100% of the time. This alone could eliminate many accidents and injuries just by eliminating tired drivers whose sense of perception and reaction are reduced due to fatigue.
While it could be viewed as both an advantage and a disadvantage, faster upgrades will inevitably occur as this car mainstreams. Since families will be putting more miles on yearly, they will wear out their cars faster. As a result, the percentage of state-of-the-art, newly updated self-driving cars on the road will be higher.
This is where this aspect could be viewed as a disadvantage due to the expense. However, given the fact that right now each household owns an average of at least two cars, vehicle maintenance and repair costs will be cut down to one car. A simple shift in finances will make this change affordable. Instead of paying for two vehicles at one time, your finances will shift to paying for one at a time, while saving up for an upgrade in the near future. The other way to accommodate the expense of purchasing a new car more frequently can be absorbed by the number of hours you gain in work because of the independence of self-driving cars.
These advanced cars are on the roads now and are being daily tested and improved upon. One very major development that will need major improvement is cyber security. In February, Senator Edward Markey released a report on the vulnerabilities of new cars and how easily they can be hacked right now. Right now, wireless technologies enable skilled hackers to obtain information on drivers such as driver’s license numbers, habits, and locations. This could become an even more serious issue and definitely needs to be improved.
Self-driving cars have most certainly arrived. They hold endless possibilities for improving lives worldwide. They are the wave of the future and, as technology advances, will carry far more advantages than disadvantages.