Driverless Cars: Pros & Cons
With driverless cars set to take to public roads in the UK as soon as January, it’s time to find out what driverless cars really are, how they work and what their future holds. The idea of a self-driving car hit headlines back in May, when Google announced they had been working on developing a car which could drive itself. Since then, driverless cars have already been allowed on public roads in the USA, Japan and Sweden.
In June 2014, it was announced that the British government was rewriting The Highway Code to allow for driverless cars, and that driverless cars would soon be tested in the UK on public roads. 3 cities in the UK will be chosen to host the driverless car trials and will each win a share of £10m to cover their expenses.
How do driverless cars work?
It’s similar to how planes can be put on autopilot mode. Thanks to technological advances, driverless cars will be able to take control of steering, accelerating, indicating, braking, cruise control, anti-lane drift, self-parking for most of and sometimes all of a journey. Using highly technological systems such as sensors, computer vision, GPS and Lidar – a remote sensing technology that can measure distances by illuminating a target with a laser and analysing the reflected light – the cars will be able to get you from A to B without you needing to do anything at all.
There are several pros expected to come from the general use of self-driving cars by the public:
- Driverless cars could save lives. In 2013, 1,713 people lost their lives on Britain’s roads, with 21,657 being seriously injured. Many accidents are caused by alcohol, drugs, distractions, carelessness and fatigue. Driverless car advocates proclaim that they will reduce the numbers of accidents and deaths, as a car computer will not be affected by such things. It is argued that taking the human out of the care will remove many of the risks of driving which are ultimately caused by the driver.
- Driverless cars will be more fuel efficient. When the car is driven by a robot that knows exactly where parking spaces are located and knows the exact route you need to take, time and fuel will no longer be wasted on getting lost and finding parking spaces.
- More people will be able to drive. Driverless cars are opening up opportunities for people who cannot currently drive for whatever reason. It’s even been said that blind people may one day be able to drive thanks to driverless cars, although this is nowhere near set in stone.
As well as pros, there are some cons of using self-driving cars that are expected to emerge:
- Driverless cars will take the fun out of driving. Many of us enjoy the feeling of being in control behind the wheel, cruising through the countryside blasting the tunes out with our friends. Being alert and steering round the corners, discovering the open road is all part of the thrill for many of us and would be taken away by driverless cars.
- There are safety concerns associated with driverless cars. According to an internal report by the FBI, criminals using driverless cars would have both hands free and be able to take their eyes off the road during a car chase. Their hands would be left free to reach for weapons and fire them.
Until driverless cars are present in our everyday general life, there’s no exact way of telling what effect they’ll have. So watch this space and look out for the changing face of driving in the UK and the rest of the world.Back to Blog