You Are Much Safer in an Autonomous Car…Really?


With the rapid growth and advancement in technology, the thought of riding in a car operated by a computer system and not a human being, has raised eyebrows for many, but fewer cars on the road means extensively reduced traffic and less time spent on the roads, freeing up thousands of hours for commuters. The stress of battling peak hour traffic would also be alleviated.

Nissan LEAF at CEATEC Japan 2013 demonstrating Autonomous DriveResearch shows that you’re actually much safer in an autonomous controlled self-driving car than a car driven by a person. If forecasts into autonomous cars are accurate, people around the world will have to get used to the concept because IHS Automotive predicts that around 230 000 self-driving cars that include driver control functions are expected to take to roads and highways by 2025, yet autonomous controlled cars are expected to be in use by 2030.

South African born entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company Tesla Motors and internet search engine Google are among the front runners leading the self-driving car development revolution, with Google having developed a prototype that has travelled just under 100 000km accident free.

Tech expert Simon Dingle says all indications are that global taxi service Uber is on a data gathering drive with the end goal to develop algorithms that map people’s movements and traffic flows – information that will allow the business to make sure their cars are in the right areas at the right time.

“At the moment Uber is a company that facilitates rides. They make it very easy for you to quickly find a human being with a car to take you wherever you’re going, but that’s not what Uber is building in the long-term. It’s something they’re pursuing in the short-term because it’s very useful for them in terms of gathering data around the globe about traffic flows, how people move around and what times of the day they need to be there,” Dingle says.

“They’re developing algorithms for the future where Uber will be powered by self-driving cars going to an app, where your Google account will know that you have a meeting at 11 am and it will send a car at the time you require it, you won’t even have to ask for it. If successful, taxis could be ordered for you without you even having to book one,” he said.

It is said to have several economic and societal benefits. From an economic perspective, cars will effectively become a shared infrastructure so owning a car won’t be a necessity.

“It will also improve productivity because whenever people are in the car travelling they can work on their laptops or tablets because they don’t have to keep their eye on the road and hands on the steering wheel. It’s also cheaper than having a driver,” says Dingle.

According to research, parking bays are the most underutilized resource in the world largely because they stand vacant overnight. If there were fewer cars on the road the number of parking bays could be reduced, opening up access to hectors upon hectors of land that can be developed and upgrade the county’s economy.

From a societal point of view – based on research that finds that computers drive better than human beings – it’s a cut across benefit because car accidents in the country would be notably reduced.

Courtesy of Destiny Online