With the likes of Waymo and Lyft bringing self-driving cars into everyday transport technology, driverless cars could very much be a norm in our foreseeable future. Although this exciting and innovative technology could completely revolutionise the way in which transportation is run, as many strengths as there are to this comes a list of potential weaknesses. Careful consideration and weighing up of such pros and cons is vital to ensure that society proceeds in a level-headed manner to such exciting new technology.
Throughout this piece, we will be evaluating some of the main pros and cons to consider with the integration of driverless cars. For more articles like this, visit this page of Fleets Insurance’s archived posts.
Pro – Improvements in Health and Safety
It is estimated that 90% of fatalities on the road are down to human error and choice; such as distraction, speeding and drink driving. By removing this element of human error and replacing it with technology built to minimise the risk of traffic accidents, the amount of road-related injuries and fatalities would decrease a considerable amount.
Driverless cars could therefore have a colossal impact on the statistics for car-related injuries and fatalities, saving lives whilst also making the roads a safer and more efficient environment.
Con – Increase in Potential Technological Malfunctions and Illegal Hacking
Although eliminating the potential for human error could significantly reduce the amount of road-related injuries and fatalities, it does however increase the chances for machine malfunctions and illegal hacking to have an impact on overall road safety. Although in many ways more reliable than humans, machines can go wrong. Therefore, by increasing the number of vehicles run purely by machines, the integration of driverless cars could significantly increase the amount of road-related accidents caused by machine and technological malfunctions.
In addition to this, unlike the human mind, the technology steering autonomous vehicles has the potential to get hacked. This poses a new danger onto public roads, as hackers could cause tremendous amounts of damage by hacking into and taking control of such driverless cars.
Pro – Reduction in Traffic James Leading to More Efficient Commutes
As autonomous cars are able to communicate more effectively than manual (human) drivers, this improved level of communication should in theory reduce the amount of congestion on the roads. It does this by reducing the potential for crashes as a result of human error, reducing closes in sections of the roads and increasing efficiency in road travel.
In addition to this, with a significant reduction in road-related traffic accidents may follow an increase in speed limits, leading to more time-efficient commutes.
Con – Professional Drivers Will Lose Their Jobs
As driverless cars start to become an increasing norm, more and more professional drivers will begin to lose their jobs, unable to compete with the driving abilities and reduction in human error that autonomous cars will bring to the road. This will lead to an increase in unemployment rates everywhere, from taxis to lorry drivers transporting goods, the livelihoods of many will be severely impacted.
Pro – People Who Can’t Drive or Don’t Like To
For those who do not like driving or do not have a driver’s license for whatever reason, autonomous cars will be extremely useful, opening up another means of transportation that might have not previously been available to them. This could improve the daily commute for many people, improving upon both time efficiency and overall productivity to their day-to-day lives.
Con – Moral Decisions
In some situations, there are decisions that even a human would struggle making, let alone a driving technology incapable of morality. If such a situation was to present itself on the road, for example deciding whether to swerve the one person who has stepped out onto the road versus crashing into a barrier with a car full of passengers, how could we trust something without built-in human morality and ethics to make the right decision?
Using driverless cars therefore raises the controversial issue of whether to trust a machine to make such important moral decisions when it comes to on-road life-threatening situations.