You may have heard about a few recent fatal crashes involving self-driving cars, which are extremely unfortunate. But even still, most experts believe that the accident risks for self-driving vehicles are much lower than with human-operated cars. Autonomous vehicles are geared towards making driving safer instead of the reverse.
But will an autonomous feature ever become standard?
That remains to be seen, but we’re definitely going to see more and more models equipped with self-driving functionalities.
Here are 10 ways self-driving cars will change how society functions.
1. No more “Road rage”
When most cars on the roads are driving themselves, we’ll be moving in more calculated ways. Emotion doesn’t enter into the picture, so the car won’t speed up when you’re getting stressed out or slam on the brakes when someone is tailgating behind you. Autonomous driving should put an end to (or at least, severely limit) tailgating altogether.
2. Fewer distracted driving accidents
Whether or not you have the self-driving feature turned on, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to the road. But when cars are driving themselves, checking a text on the road becomes less of an issue. This means that you won’t ever have to deal with selling your damaged car again. Which is a relief because it can be a time consuming process.
3. Less vehicles on the road
This one highlights one of the downsides of self-driving vehicles. It kind of takes the fun out of driving. On the plus side, it takes the stress away. But if you could summon a self-driving vehicle in minutes, there’s less of a need to own your own. The cost to ride will inevitably be lower because you won’t need a person to operate the vehicle.
4. Safer roads for cyclists and pedestrians
Cyclists today face significant challenges on the road. Reckless drivers, narrow roads, and road rage are three of the big issues that can lead to cycling and pedestrian accidents. But with self-driving vehicles, the world can get a bit safer. No longer do you have to rely on the driver’s skill to keep you safe. An autonomous vehicle will operate with more precision and be able to take up less space on the road.
5. Seniors will have more autonomy
When a senior citizen must relinquish their driver’s license, it’s a somber and demoralizing moment. But with self-driving vehicles, this isn’t an issue. Seniors can have an easier time getting around without actually having to drive, and they can maintain their independence longer.
6. Delivery services will increase
Imagine how affordable and easy it will be to order food (or any other service) when cars can drive themselves. In fact, many experts believe we may have things like mobile gyms and mobile bakeries in the not-so-distant future.
7. Organ donations may decline
The sad truth is that many organs that are donated come from car crash fatalities. And with fewer fatalities, we can expect fewer organs to be harvested. Fortunately, science is working on solutions in the form of stem cell technologies and growing organs in the lab. But there may be a short time when we feel the shortage.
8. People may move further from cities
When you don’t have to focus on driving, you’re free to do plenty of other, more relaxing, things. When cars are fully self-driving, you could even take a nap on the way to work. That two-hour commute doesn’t sound as bad anymore, does it?
9. Less traffic on the roads
There are three reasons why self-driving vehicles may result in less traffic. First, there will be fewer accidents, which means less rubbernecking and inevitable slowdowns. Second, there will be fewer speeding violations. You know the traffic always gets disrupted when someone gets pulled over. And finally, more people are likely to partake in ride-sharing with autonomous vehicles.
10. New laws written for car accident liability
As much as self-driving cars have been developed with the idea of reducing accidents, there’s still the problem of who would be liable if there’s an accident and it’s the self-driving car’s fault. As more companies test self-driving automobiles, it’s becoming an issue to decide who would pay for damages. What it be the person running the test, the co-driver, or the more prominent parent company? There would be new laws introduced at the federal, state, and local level to address these issues.
Self-driving cars are here
This may seem like a distant fantasy, but it’s probably closer than you think. We may see some of these changes take place within the coming decade.
What are your thoughts on self-driving cars?