Self-Driving Cars, How Would They Transform Society and at What Cost?

Self-driving cars would provide numerous benefits to society, but there are also a few severe drawbacks that must be addressed before they would be release on any market. If done properly, self-driving cars could eliminate any accidents due to human error or miscalculation as the cars could constantly communicate between one another. They could also optimize our current traffic system, help us led more efficient lives as we can spend the time we would have spent commuting working or relaxing, and allow for significant innovations to occur in any industry that rely on significant drive times such as the postal services, public transportation systems, private taxi services, and more. This would allow commuting employees to get to work faster, safer, and allow employers to utilize this time for work related calls and meetings. Also, the any transportation related industry would have massive savings as all the drivers could be replaced by a computer and some sensors; the initial capital for such systems and technologies would be rather high, but overtime it would be worth it.

However, before self-driving cars become a reality we must seriously consider a few issues such as who would be liable if there was an accident due to algorithm/program failure —would it be the company that manufactured the car or the programmers? Also, we must understand the economic impacts such a technology would have on society, in particular anyone involved with ground transportation. Obviously, the industry, whether taxi or delivery services, would opt to use an automated method to deliver their customers or packages since they would be able to save money on drivers and insurances. This would mean that hundreds of thousands of people would be out of work and there wouldn’t be enough room in any similar low-income job sectors that they could transfer too. In addition, the car manufacturing industry may be affected by this shift to automation as the car design may converge and simplify since consumer will most likely only care about the comfort inside the vehicle instead of the look, feel, handling, acceleration, etc. This would make many factory workers jobs simpler and make the manufacturing industry more efficient as they can optimize the production of fewer models.

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