The pages of science fiction novels gave rise to the concept of driverless cars, but humanity is now turning it into a reality. The question is: is it a boon or a bane? Let’s find out.
Driverless Car Technology
The focus these days is shifting from technology to how driverless cars are impacting society. On-the-air updates and lifetime support are two factors that are being considered by manufacturers. Since driverless cars are on testing grounds, there are still ongoing debates about the ethical issues like whether they’re safe to manoeuvre through metropolitan cities and if the experience is personalizable. There’s no lack of innovation in driverless technology as unveiled by the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas which debuted the e-Golf Touch by Volkswagen and the Ford Fusion Autonomous Car in CES 2017.
Automotive manufacturers and the Government are expected to collaborate and create an ecosystem that promotes zero fatalities and no defects. The vision of truly driverless cars is to mimic the human instinct and get better at split-second decision making. Laws and regulatory frameworks are still under development regarding driverless technology and its use on streets.
The Good And The Bad
The good news is the positives these cars offer. Road fatalities will be drastically reduced since we know humans are prone to making errors, unlike technology. The streets will be cleaner and not flooded with cars honking away. That’s a plus for traffic control.
Safety is another aspect that will be taken care of. Local cab drivers are people and may hurt passengers or rape women, which driverless cars are incapable of. The comfort factor is also there where you simply pick a destination and zip away, instead of instructing a driver or a human. The car takes care of the journey and its sensors detect changes in traffic, collision avoidance courses, and will even customize the journeying experience by letting you input custom instructions or directions. True, these cars are expensive but the upside is your local taxis will become a lot cheaper too.
The bad news is local drivers will be running out of jobs. With big players like Uber and Tesla preparing to dominate the market, unemployment in the automotive industry will be the talk of the world. However, the extra funding acquired by big players can be expected to be redistributed and provide employment opportunities in less-repetitive job roles. This means cab drivers may have to learn new skills, be a little tech-savvy, and push beyond their comfort zones by applying for a different job. There’s also the problem of terrorist attacks and the disruption of the Internet-Of-Things (IoT) by external interferences. One shot to the internet, and you’ll have driverless technology left obsolete and not working. Environmental factors like tsunamis, earthquakes, and unexpected natural/man-made events are another concern too.
Getting back to unemployment, the beacon of hope is that there will be numerous job opportunities in the healthcare and technology industries. Being willing to adapt or learn or be left in the dust is a subjective question the local employees will have to ponder.