Effectiveness of Self Driving Cars

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Imagining getting in the car, entering your destination and letting it drive you while writing a paper for your English class or playing chess without paying any attention to the traffic. Self-driving cars, as they were depicted in the fiction novels a few decades ago, are bringing a revolution to change the way people commute as well as other aspects of their lives. With a variety of sensors perceiving the surroundings, they not only present conveniency from their superpower in transportation with almost zero human input, but also reap enormous societal benefits when they launch in the marketplace. Therefore, people should be allowed to utilize self-driving cars in America as it effectively lowers the accident rate, efficiently economize public resources and productively maximizes human efficiency.

To begin, Self-driving cars will greatly improve road safety because human drivers are more vulnerable to distractions and errors in their judgments compared to precisely algorithm-based autonomous cars. The difference between machines and humans, for example, is that matters such as alcohol, fatigue, anxiety or any emotional fluctuations would impair one’s ability to concentrate and make decisions, but they will never affect machines. Also, machines won’t take unnecessary risks like driving over speed and not stopping at an intersection with a red stop sign as what humans usually do.

Professor Robert W. Peterson of the Center for Insurance Law and Regulation at Santa Clara University School of Law states that over 90% of road accidents take place due to the driver’s errors, and it is reasonable to believe that the severity of the accidents will be reduced dramatically due to the use of self-driving cars (D’Allegro, 2014). Similarly, self-driving cars would perform much better than human drivers under extreme weathers and road conditions, greatly minimizing accident risks.

Also, since self-driving cars use algorithm-based models to make decisions and sensors to capture details in various situations, it has access to a lot more data and information than a human does in a certain period of time, enabling it to be more “powerful” than human drivers. Danny Shapiro, the senior director of Nvidia’s automotive business unit, proffers a vivid scenario of how autonomous vehicles take in a huge amount of insightful factors, which also shows an evidence of the super driving skills they adopt. He says that if the self-driving car senses a slightly open door nearby with the expectation that the person in the car will come out at any time, it will either slow down or make a detour to avoid any possible accidents (Thrun, 2010).

It is unbelievably hard for a human being to sensor this amount of information, process it, and make the right decision instantly. With their full 360 degrees view, self-driving cars can possibly track multiple objects with much greater accuracy than any human. Therefore, as this technology is emerging, the trenchant gap between the ability of human and machine in operating motor vehicles will definitely be widened. With these strong facilities and prevailing characteristics, autonomous vehicles are aimed at improving the functionality of vehicles, reducing human errors and ensuring road safety.

Secondly, autonomous cars will save plenty of public resources so that people can make better use of them. Google’s former director of hardware, Salesky, states that there will be less parking lots needed in the cities, which are currently making up one-third of most urban city centers because self-driving cars will be constantly transporting people around (Vanian, 2017).

By giving car owners the opportunity to convert their private vehicles to public transportation without giving up any of their private time, it will greatly promote the utilization ratio of motor vehicles and contribute to the decentralization: people who don’t need their vehicles temporarily; for example, when they are at the office; can simply share their cars with others instead of leaving it in the parking lot for 7 hours until they get off from work. Since autonomous cars don’t require any human input, it would be not burdensome for owners to make their cars as accessible as self-driving taxis and Ubers. Hence, a lot of public space will be saved with the potentials to be converted to business districts or residential areas.

In addition, autonomous cars will also help conserve plenty of natural resources. Most of the self-driving cars being tested and driven today are already fully electric (Andrew, 2017). There will be a significant emission reduction compared to the traditional vehicles replenished by fossil fuels, resulting in less contamination and pollution in our environment. Furthermore, by evolving the culture of car ownership, commuters can easily find a vehicle that better suits their demands. For instance, a white collar in his way rushing to the office can take a compact car while a family leisure weekend trip would probably need a medium-sized SUV. Using the self-driving cars to the best advantage and maximizing the productivity will undoubtedly lower the energy demand as well.

Thirdly, utilizing self-driving cars will result in less commute time and more human efficiency due to more free time as they liberate people from the tedious and repetitive loop of driving. Statistics shows that the average American commute increases to 26.4 minutes in 2015 (Ingraham, 2017). With self-driving cars, people would reclaim all the time they spend behind the wheels of the car and stay more goal-oriented. The majority of people today spend their most productive time in simple labor and small trivia, and driving could be considered as one of them.

Moreover, less driving time is also beneficial to the driver’s health. New AAA Foundation reports that American spend an average of 293 hours driving each year (Johnson, 2016). Many drivers live in rural area sacrifice sleep, daily relaxation activities like watching TV, and even work to get extra commute time, which self-driving vehicles would definitely bring an ultimate solution to this issue. Consequently, autonomous vehicles could grant people freedom and flexibility in time management as they choose to engage in more purposeful activities.

In recent years, despite the fast growth in the development of self-driving vehicles, the ethics of autonomous cars is questioned regarding the trolley problem which requires people to imagine that a trolley runs down the tracks towards five people and they have the access to divert the trolley to another track, where only one person stands (Thomson, 1985). The question is who controls, and thus, takes the responsibility of the death of people in an inevitable accident. Given a similar conundrum, ethical dilemmas are raised such as should self-driving cars be programmed to always give the priority to the safety of its passengers, or should they sometimes consider fairness or the overall good. Some scholars say that machines shouldn’t get to choose who would die in this case because it is not ethical (Nyholm, 2016).

However, this question was further analyzed by a group of researchers who found that people’s preferences vary from country to country and correlate with different cultural backgrounds, core values, and even economics; for example, statistics shows that the countries with cultures that have a greater emphasis on individualism would make different decisions compared to those on collectivism (Hao, 2018). This research may give insights and raise awareness to the self-driving car’s engineers as cultural backgrounds and core values are something should be considered when they program the software, indicating the importance of “humanizing” autonomous cars.

Correspondingly, noticing that the trolley problem is an ethical thinking process to human, the only “non-ethical part” in this problem is giving machines the right to make decisions. This issue can possibly be solved by a suggestion: self-driving car manufacturers should have a general agreement among car owners for this particular issue. Professor Charles suggests that as self-driving car manufacturers sell their products, there should be a contract introduces a consent or a common agreement that the algorithm decides who to save would be designed according to the will of the car owners, and hence, they will take the responsibility of the accidents (Nyholm, 2016). In this case, machines are given the qualities of people, and thus, would be expected to make a decision as a human would make, where ethics are carefully taken into account.

In conclusion, self-driving cars will be a rising trend for future technology because they improve road safety, save public resources and help balance one’s private time. Due to its societal benefits, there is a lot of opportunities associated with autonomous vehicles. Though the system is not perfect at present, it will ultimately become a part of human daily routines and decide how the law evolves to collaborate with them as this technology becomes mainstream in the future.


Cite this paper

Effectiveness of Self Driving Cars. (2021, Apr 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/effectiveness-of-self-driving-cars/



How many accidents will self-driving cars reduce?
It is estimated that self-driving cars could decrease accident fatalities by as much as 90 percent , according to McKinsey. If this occurred, it would cause car accidents to drop from being the second-leading cause of accident-related deaths in the U.S. to being the ninth-leading cause.
What are the positive effects of self-driving cars?
The benefits of self-driving cars include increased safety on the road, as well as the potential for reduced traffic congestion and improved fuel efficiency.
What are the positives and negatives of self-driving cars?
There are many positives to self-driving cars, including increased safety, efficiency, and convenience. However, there are also negatives, such as the potential for cyberattacks and loss of jobs for human drivers.
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