It sounds like something out of science fiction, but it’s slowly becoming a reality: driverless cars.
A recent Forbes article reported that the CEO of car company Nissan predicts driverless cars will be featured in showrooms in less than 10 years. In fact, Nissan is not the only company working toward the car of the future; Audi and Honda are experimenting with the new model, and testing by the U.S. government has begun. Google has been “driving” driverless cars around California for several years already. A few hurdles to driverless cars include the improvement of mapping software and drive-by-wire systems, but these companies are working to overcome them.
If driverless cars are too futuristic for you, perhaps you’ll consider Toyota’s recently unveiled car that acts as your “co-pilot.” Instead of operating the vehicle for you, Toyota’s car would assist you through its installed advanced safety features. Going way beyond side airbags and rear back-up cameras, the safety equipment in Toyota’s car “has sensors and systems that observe the road, process traffic situations, and respond to various unexpected developments, such as an obstacle in the road, or a sudden snowstorm that causes everything to slow down.
This “autonomous car,” as Toyota has called it, is an intelligent co-pilot that is designed to help drivers drive safer, according to Forbes.
Though many consider driverless cars to be scary or an intrusion on their right to autonomy, driverless and autonomous cars have their advantages. An autonomous car would be particularly helpful for teen drivers without very much driving experience, older drivers with slower reflexes, and tired drivers. This type of car would help drivers avoid accidents by alerting them to changes in traffic and road hazards. Driverless cars could help the elderly and the disabled retain their mobility.
The biggest attraction to driverless cars is the idea that these cars could drastically reduce the number of car accidents and accident-related injuries and fatalities that occur every year. In most cases, accidents are not really “accidents” but are collisions that could have been avoided if the driver had been operating the vehicle more safely. In the U.S., car accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 5 to 34, according to the CDC.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that autonomous or driverless cars are a necessary improvement to traffic safety, or do you believe that people should maintain their right to drive themselves?