Every so often a new discovery is made that changes the face of humanity. Be it an idea, invention or theory; some things, once they exist, change everything. The atomic bomb, penicillin, the internet and automobiles are among those things that changed reality with both good and bad elements.
Technology advances each year and along with it, inventions advance as well. Everyone wants the safest product possible, especially when it comes to big things like cars. Safety advances in the auto industry are never-ending but what if there was a way to ensure there would never be another car accident? Some people say self-driving cars can do that.
Google and other major corporations have put major bucks into research of driverless cars for commercial use. The possibilities for this type of car run the spectrum from convenient and useful to frivolous and fun. We can pick up Aunt Sally from the airport without leaving the house, blind people can run errands, pick up and drop offs at school and getting those extra few minutes of sleep before and after work. Of all the perceived advantages of a self-driving car, the biggest of all may be the drastic decline in fatal car accidents.
Research has showed us that 90% of fatal accidents are attributed to human err. If autonomous cars were the majority of vehicles on the road the amount of lives lost each year to auto accidents would decline dramatically.
Google gives the following claims for the car, as described by Sebastian Thrun, lead developer,:
We can reduce traffic accidents by 90%.
We can reduce wasted commute time and energy by 90%.
We can reduce the number of cars by 90%.
Throughout the years of research most experts have agreed that the potential problems and disruptions of autonomous cars were too much. That has changed with Google’s new claims. All signs point to these types of cars coming into commercial use in the near future.
There are still bugs to work out. As it stands, automatic cars cannot obey traffic lights, distinguish pedestrians, or negotiate adverse weather conditions. There are still years ahead of mass use in this country but it’s headed this way. Not only can autonomous cars stop fatalities but will also aid in other problems like:
Poor reaction time
Overcompensating for errors
Lack of driving experience
Google says the cars will be available by 2018 and it has been predicted that by the year 2040 driver’s licenses will be obsolete.