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Taking the Backseat: The Pros and Cons of Self Driving Cars

Did you know that there are 1,400 self-driving cars that are now being tested in the United States?

Self-driving cars look like the future and they will revolutionize our lives. However, many people are cautious about autonomous cars because the control of driving is less which could result in more accidents. 

Keep reading to discover what the pros and cons of self-driving cars are and whether you should consider getting one in the future.

What Are Self-Driving Cars?

Self-driving cars and trucks are vehicles where human drivers don’t need to take control of the vehicle. Autonomous cars and trucks use a range of sensors and software to control, navigate and drive the vehicles.

There are different levels of self-driving cars, but experts are currently testing fully self-driving cars. It is believed that in the near future, cars will be able to drive themselves completely without any human interaction. 

Levels of Self-Driving Cars

Level 0 is where all major systems are controlled by humans.

Level 1 is where certain systems, such as cruise control and automatic braking, may be controlled by the car. 

Level 2 is where the car has at least two simultaneous automated functions, such as acceleration and steering. However, it still requires humans to safely operate.

Level 3 is where the car can carry out all safety-critical functions under certain conditions. However, the driver is still expected to take control when alerted.

Level 4 is where the car is fully-autonomous in a range of driving scenarios, but not all.

And level 5 is where the car is able to drive itself in every situation.

How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?

Google, Uber, Telsa, Nissan, and other automakers, researchers, and technology companies have been working on self-driving technologies for several years now. 

The designs of these technologies all differ, however, most of the autonomous driving systems are similar. They work by creating and maintaining an internal map of their surroundings, with help from sensors, such as radars. 

For example, one of Uber’s self-driving prototypes uses 64 laser beams and other sensors to construct an internal map.

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The software in the self-driving cars then processes those inputs and sends instructions to the vehicle’s actuators. The actuators then control the acceleration, braking, and steering of the car or truck. 

Traffic rules of the road and obstacles that the self-driving cars need to avoid also use software and sensors to detect. Hard-coded rules, obstacle avoidance algorithms, predictive modeling, and smart object discrimination are all used to ensure road safety.

Due to the nature of the fully autonomous vehicles, these cars and trucks might not even need a steering wheel at all.

 

Driverless Cars Pros and Cons

The future of the road might be driverless. Imagine being able to get from A to B without having to do anything at all. If you’re still on the fence about self-driving cars then check out the pros and cons of fully autonomous vehicles. 

Pros of Self-Driving Cars

One advantage of self-driving cars is that there are likely to be fewer driving errors. Human error is involved in 94 to 96% of all motor vehicle crashes. Humans can get easily distracted or even drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. However, self-driving cars would make fewer errors than humans because they don’t get distracted the way humans do. 

Another advantage of self-driving cars is that people who can’t or are unable to drive due to disabilities will be able to get around more easily. Fully automated cars won’t require you to pass a strict driving test or have a driving license, because the car will be able to do everything for you.

 

Another advantage is that commuting times may be quicker. Driverless cars will be able to travel at consistent distances from one another, which will result in fewer car crashes. This might even increase speed limits in certain areas because of the reduction of crashes. 

Another advantage is that these cars are expected to be better for the environment. A lot of the manufacturers working on self-driving cars are designing electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are thought to lower the number of emissions being released and thus are better for the environment. 

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Cons of Self-Driving Cars

One disadvantage of self-driving cars is that their computer systems could be hacked or could crash due to a glitch or technological error. This is a big concern with cars that are fully autonomous because it means that the car could crash and there would be nothing that the passengers could do.

Laws would have to be updated and people would need to familiarize themselves with who was liable in the event of a car crash due to hacking or a technological error. Find out more about liability and self-driving cars by reading this article

Another disadvantage is that jobs are likely to be lost, especially for those who make a living from their vehicles, such as cab drivers. Truck drivers who deliver goods across the country may also experience the impact of self-driving cars. 

Another disadvantage is the cost of self-driving cars. It is unlikely that average people will be able to afford them when they are first available. This is because they’ll be very expensive due to the technology needed to make them. 

Use Our Pros and Cons of Self-Driving Cars Guide to Learn About the Future of Autonomous Cars

As you can see there are many pros and cons of self-driving cars. Some pros are very good, whilst some cons still need to be ironed out, which is why self-driving cars aren’t commercially available yet.

As technology advances and fully autonomous vehicles are tested more, we might expect to see more cars and trucks on the roads which are fully self-driving. Which is why it is very important to understand what that means and how it will impact your journeys.

Before you go, make sure you check out some of our other articles to get the latest news and insight on worldwide topics.