Self-driving Vehicles: A Dream or A Nightmare

01/12/2018
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We all imagine that, in the future, when driverless cars become popular, the traffic will be safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly. But is everything going so smoothly?

A traffic system with driverless vehicles can be said to be perfect. Our future will be better with standardized self-propelled cars and no human mistakes leading to accidents. But things can get worse. We can’t forecast all repercussions of autonomous cars until they actually operate on the streets. So, we have composed a list of driverless vehicles’ potential pros and cons.

a car running on the road without the control of human

Self-driving vehicles have already become a reality

Pros

A man reading newspaper when the car drives him to work

No more stress on the road

1. Self-driving vehicles can create more health benefits

Autonomous cars will be equipped with devices to measure, keep important health status and notice any health problems. German car maker Mercedes thinks that in the future, self-driving cars combined with a health sensor will become the user's personal assistant. The car will now when the driver was too tired. The seatbelt, steering wheel or anything that the driver touches can be used as a biometric sensor to collect patient information, helping to detect hypoglycemia or warn of a heart attack.

2. Self-driving vehicles cause fewer traffic accidents

Statistics show that human is poor drivers. Tired and neglected drivers have caused so many minor and serious accidents. As estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO), if no action is taken, road traffic injuries will become the fifth leading cause of death in the world by 2030, accounting for 3.6% of the total number of deaths. Currently, 1.25 million people died and between 20 and 50 million people are injured in road traffic accidents each year. Imagine how many people could be saved and how much additional time would be available for other useful activities if drivers are replaced by robots. People don’t need to spend time learning to drive or nagging others because of poor driving skills.

3. Self-driving vehicles bring freedom to the elderly and people with disabilities

The world population is ageing, creating a huge potential market for self-driven vehicles. Therefore, car manufacturers and technology companies are using AI to teach the vehicle to avoid collisions, read traffic signals and meet different types and needs of passengers. Self-driving can help the old and the disabled become more independent even if they are unable to drive. For example, hospitals can send a driverless car to pick up patients for health monitoring.

4. Self-driving vehicles help reduce travel time

The vehicles can interact with each other to detect the best road and avoid heavy traffic on a certain street. Traffic jam will become a thing of the past and people can come to their destination in a shorter time. Moreover, driverless cars help maintain speed limits and consistent distances from other vehicles.

Cons

A thief using a laptop to hack a car

Autonomous cars can still be hacked

1. Self-driving vehicles cannot overcome unfavourable traffic situations

The development of self-steering technology is not easy. Car sensors are not smart enough to judge in real traffic situations. Driving in the real world requires quick and accurate decision-making, which is a very complex skill. It is believed that self-propelled cars still need people sitting in front of the steering wheel, much like aircraft monitored by air traffic control stations.

2. Self-driving vehicles cannot bear harsh weather conditions

Autonomous cars are very dependent on the weather. Car sensors are not always effective under rain or snow. Rain and dirt can cause the navigation device to be deflected, leading to unfortunate accidents.

3. Self-driving vehicles are dependent on a virtual map

Virtual map or GPS has made a big difference in our daily lives. But those who believe in this technology must admit it is not perfect. Thus, self-driving is a project that needs global cooperation. Virtual maps should distinguish between one-way streets, railroad tracks and rivers.

4. Self-driving vehicles are prone to cyber attack

A large volume of data is created, stored and shared by autonomous cars. Hackers can break into this data warehouse and use data for bad intentions. If a hacker was able to get into the car’s software, they could reprogram the vehicle to do anything. Technical data needs to be shared, but personal data needs to be protected.

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