4 Concerns With Autonomous Vehicles Debunked
Autonomous vehicles are all over the news. With giants like Tesla and Google working hard to make driverless cars the way of the future, the world is waiting to see what shape this technology takes. There is some significant fear as to what will happen when the technology becomes prevalent. Here are some of the most common concerns, along with responses to debunk each one.
There’s a perception that autonomous vehicles are a wholly new industry, involving huge leaps forward in technology and experimental processes. No one likes being a guinea pig. This fear is not founded at all, though. The technologies at the heart of the driverless car, which include autopilot, collision detection, and networked interfacing, are all tried and true features. In fact, existing non-autonomous vehicles already have many of these features.
Moreover, autonomous vehicles will not be hitting the road without extensive testing. In fact, the leaders in the field are currently engaged in heavy testing, and it is unlikely the government regulatory apparatus will approve these cars for the road until manufacturers can demonstrate their safety.
Many movies and television programs sell the idea of technological failure. In this kind of media, the breakdowns inherent to complicated systems cause huge catastrophes to occur, costing countless lives.
People watch these programs and fear that an automatic driving network would be prone to extreme failures that would lead to an increase in crashes. In reality, the non-autonomous driving systems currently in place already cause a large number of crashes. Most simulations of the effects of properly implemented autonomous vehicle networks show a significant reduction in the rate of auto-related fatalities.
The networking required to create an autonomous driving system opens the possibility of hostile cyber intrusions. Hacking is a danger that is of growing concern in an increasingly computerized world. However, the idea that destructive hackers will cause massive accidents is an unlikely possibility. Most hackers seek financial gain, and there is no margin in causing auto accidents.
The more likely scenario is that a hacker would deploy ransomware in the car’s operating system and prevent it from starting without a payment. That’s why the operators of the autonomous networks will be doing all they can to use the latest security tools to keep their networks secure.
The final problem many people have with the idea of autonomous driving is the fear that the network will drive up the cost of cars. Although there may be some increase in the cost of car ownership initially, costs will level out as the practice becomes pervasive and the economics of scale kick in. Moreover, the nature of autonomous driving will make the possibility of living without owning a car more feasible than ever for those who do not want the expense of maintaining a car.
There are hurdles to overcome before the autonomous vehicle becomes ubiquitous, but the gains to be had are incredible. Instead of fearing the future, we should find the ways to make it work.