Technology develops more rapidly than the British weather changes, it seems. With new phones out every few months, new laptops, new visual reality devices filling the shelves, it was only a matter of time before the auto industry decided to join the money making party.

There have been leaps forward already, with the introduction of in car cameras, and age-old parking sensors, but Uber have finally taken the next step; self-driving cars. Yes, that’s right, a multiple tonne metal box with only a computer programme controlling it has already been let onto the roads of the American city, Pittsburgh. Left to be ‘driven’ around young children, known for their inquisition and unwavering determination to retrieve a ball that rolls into the road.

Driving tests, although expensive, teach the learner drivers how to safely conduct emergency stops. Immediate stops that can save the lives of children who run out, lives of parents who follow, lives of elderly people who lose their footing on the pavements. If self-driving cars drive themselves, as the name suggests, then do people require driving lessons in the future? Some would argue ‘no,’ because the car, if fulfilling its promises, should do the driving for you, but in reality, this is bound to have serious consequences.

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On the 18th March 2018, in Tempe, Arizona, a woman was killed, at the fate of a self-driving car with a human behind the wheel. As the person in the car was relying entirely on the autonomous running of the car, they neglected their responsibility to concentrate and failed to swerve the pedestrian crossing the road. This total dependence on the car, meant that a life was taken because it did not detect the pedestrian’s movement.

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Despite supporters of the cars taking ‘automatic’ to a new level, claiming that these cars are safer than human drivers, as 94% of 1.3million casualties in car accidents “involve human error”, this case proves that this may not be the situation at all. This fatality proves that if there had been concentration on the driver’s behalf, then there would have been a possibility of avoiding such a tragic incident.

Recent surveys have shown that there is a large percentage of both millennials (at 73%) and baby boomers (85%) who are scared to be passengers in this new generation of automotive vehicles. It is evidence that, again, supports the notion that these cars are not perceived as safe to be in built-up, pedestrian areas.

There must be years and years of research, and testing, and evidential proof that these cars are the future of driving before the majority of people begin to trust the invention. Like all technologies, there are supporters and protestors that present reasons for each of their perspectives, but neither can be justified, just yet, as we still wait for the safety levels to be raised.

Would you let you mom, grandpa, little sister, or younger cousin travel in a self-driving car?  Could we have to learn to accept it? Is this the future of travel?

 

Sources: newsroom.uber.com     www.theguardian.com