The Self Driving Advantage Essay

1345 words - 6 pages

 “The Self-Driving Advantage”
Imagine yourself enjoying your daily morning commute to school, listening to national public radio on low volume while turning left off of Harvey Road. Suddenly, you find yourself scrambled up behind your second row seats. Incidents like these result in the millions of accidents that occur in the United States per year. The culprit? Human driver error. In order to further facilitate economic growth and safety throughout ground transport infrastructures, consumers and manufacturers need to embrace constantly emerging technologies that aim to eliminate driver error and gain grounds at improving safety in numbers.

Every year, numerous improvements in ...view middle of the document...

With the continuous evolution of car safety features and the still-present issue of car safety, the next logical step would a step that excludes the error-prone driver: a step that involves a driverless car.

A self-driving car provides several significant advantages in terms of productivity, but more importantly, safety. Google, the multinational technology company known for its advertising and search software, makes notable contributions to autonomous vehicle research through their self-driving car project. Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google, cited his passion for the program, remarking that “...while it will still take time before we see self-driving cars everywhere on our streets, over a million auto fatalities per year worldwide make this a risk worth taking… it is possible to create the technology that allows people to lead healthier, happier lives.” (Roberts). The company’s devotion to autonomous vehicle research derives from an opportunity many would strive for: the opportunity to not just drastically improve, but to also save lives. In regards to how their vehicles operate, Google mounts several industry standard sensors on both the exterior and interior of the vehicle. Information obtained from the sensors gets interpreted and analyzed through a combination the on-board computer and remote computer farms (Urmson). Testing conducted with Google’s fleet of vehicles demonstrate their ability to reduce energy consumption, pollution, and lower costs associated with wasted time in traffic through the use of vehicle-to-vehicle communication (Anderson). With a self-driving vehicle, working, eating, or connecting with friends and relatives become acceptable for all riders involved. Drivers of non-autonomous vehicles do not possess the capability to do these things without endangering the lives of themselves or others, so autonomous vehicles provide an ideal opportunity to make up time wasted driving.

However, in a society where humans consistently enjoy the liberating freedom of driving their own vehicle wherever and however they prefer, autonomous vehicles pose an obvious detriment to their normal expectations of driving. Understandably, the idea of shifting all control to a computer fuels the anxiety behind many of self-driving vehicle opponents. Most would envision the use of typical conditional “if… then” programming statements to pose an issue when implemented in self-driving computer algorithms, making them seem unreliable and unsafe. With these algorithms, the vehicle detects certain obstacles that it must face on the road and selects from a predetermined list of actions that it executes. This programming presents a harmful issue whenever the vehicle encounters something that does not have a predetermined action. These algorithms, while common in computer programs not held with the task of maintaining morality, no longer exist in self-driving programs. Instead, self-driving cars, such as Google’s, utilizes the...

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