Even as this article is being written, there’s exhilarating news from the world of automobile technology. Ford is the latest entrant into the great and exciting world of self driving cars with plans to start self driving fleet services in a few areas. These cars will be aided by well laid out route maps and will cater to the growing demand for these cars.
What is a self-driving car?
Also called an autonomous or a driverless car, a self-driving car has the ability to drive itself using the environment and conditions outside without any human intervention or suggestions. The driver can take control of the vehicle at any moment if so required.
Self-driving cars powerfully harness technology that helps them make decisions. Just like you’d use GPS to find your way in your used subaaru wrx, the car uses GPS to take you to your destination. It uses sophisticated control systems to ascertain its surroundings and the obstacles that there might be along the way. Dashboard features helps it keep in touch with the other aspects of the car as well.
This technology promises huge benefits.
For one, it can bring down the number of accidents because it eliminates human error. That means fewer injuries and deaths. There is create better flow of traffic and fewer traffic jams for commuters to face. Self-driving cars lend themselves easier to bulk vehicle requirements and also bring down the parking woes drivers face. What’s most heartening is how it can enable the differently abled and the disabled to enjoy the driving experience. This can mean a more independent life for so many people and change the way we travel.
On the other hand, anything that uses technology can run the risk of becoming a target for criminals. In particular, hackers. From the time you get into your car without using a key, through sensors, to the duration of your ride, your vehicle is connected to the internet, leaving it open to any number of attacks. When your entertainment unit in the car is also connected to the net through a Wi-Fi hotspot, the hazard continues. When you download a game or an album, a video or a movie, you also invite people to take over your vehicle and use it to their advantage.
When it comes to a fleet of self-driving cars the problem is further compounded. Imagine a group of school buses straying away from their intended path. It is a scenario of nightmare proportions for parents and others.
There are other issues as well, the most obvious being a not always reliable technology. If it gives up on a deserted highway, in during late hours, in an unsafe part of town, it can have catastrophic results. There has to be additional spending on building a road network for these cars, so a rise in costs and taxes can also be expected. It might not be easy to convince public transit sector employees of its benefits; a large number of people stand to lose jobs.
Thus, self-driving cars can change the way we travel only if we iron out the issues they come with today.
Here’s what I think of self-driving cars.
1. They will happen. But when it does, it is not going to be pretty in the beginning. In fact, I expect accidents to happen, and one may be enough to stop its deployment in the streets.
2. Once it is deployed, I agree with you. Hacking is the next problem. In fact, it can also be used for terrorism where the culprits may never be found.