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5 Social Implications Of The Mass Adoption Of Self-Driving Cars

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5 Social Implications Of The Mass Adoption Of Self-Driving Cars

While the impact of the automobile industry over the last century cannot be overstated, car usage will likely change dramatically over the next century, thanks to the invention of autonomous, driverless cars. The predicted widespread use of Self-Driving Vehicles or SDVs brings with it the potential of many benefits such as improved efficiency, reduced traffic congestion, and fewer traffic accidents, injury, and death, as well as minimising our negative impact on the environment in the process. The net economic benefit of self-driving cars also has the potential to be enormous. So it’s not a matter of if driverless cars will gain mass acceptance, but when.

Safety

Driverless cars will have a significant benefit for safety and health as they’re expected to dramatically reduce traffic accidents and road fatalities. Statistics show that over 1 million lives are lost globally through road accidents each year, the vast majority of which are caused by irresponsible driving and human error. In other words, replacing human drivers with driverless cars will reduce almost all road carnage.

Autonomous vehicles with advanced systems for driver assistance will likely reduce motor vehicle deaths by over 90%, saving close to $200 billion every year in health care costs. Self-driving technology will not only save thousands of lives and make our roads safer; it will also save money by reducing the costs of licensing and repairs. This could cause insurance companies to lower their premiums by up to 50%, if not by more.

Convenience

Self-driving cars can conveniently drop passengers at their destination, while the vehicle then goes off to park itself. They are similar to public transport like trains, trams, and bus services, except driverless cars will have the added convenience of a portal-to-portal service rather than stop-to-stop or station-to-station.

There will also be much fewer vehicles on the roads, meaning less time will be spent stuck in traffic between destinations. Driverless cars will all be interconnected on-line, which means they will be able to communicate with each other while coordinating their intended routes. All of this combined will ultimately create a much more pleasant, convenient, and less stressful experience for us all.

More Free Time

Just like public transport, self-driving cars will also free up time spent stuck in traffic or searching for parking spaces so that passengers can spend their travel time doing other activities. Because people won’t be focused on driving, driverless technology will boost productivity while generating new avenues for economic growth. Imagine getting paid to get work done from the moment you leave the house, rather than when you get to work? Plus, self-driving cars will also provide new independence to millions of people who are currently unable to get a licence due to physical disability or old age.

A Cleaner Environment

Global carbon emissions have been steadily increasing over the last 50 years, and they are at dangerously high levels today, so the global environmental significance of driverless vehicles can never be understated. That’s because self-driving vehicles are reliant on electric and battery power because they are much harder to operate safely with fossil fuels. By moving away from transport that uses fossil fuels, driverless vehicles that use fewer polluting forms of energy will produce less carbon emissions and reduce the damaging effects of global warming.

Autonomous cars will also use much less energy when driving because our bad driving habits will not be programmed into these vehicles, and they may not need as much heavy safety equipment which also burns up fuel. Because they’ll be automated to follow the rules of the road which includes not hitting the gas whenever the signal turns green and following speed limits, self-driving cars will ultimately be a greener way to get from A to B.

Will Buying Your Own Car Still Make Sense?

Cars today take up large amounts of space on our roads, in our garages, and all over our urban areas in parking spaces. Autonomous vehicles, on the other hand, are highly likely to substantially reduce the number of cars on our roads over the long-term. That’s because autonomous cars of the future will probably be available to access on an as-needed basis similar to how Uber works today, rather than them being sold to own. In fact, as long as the driverless automobile service is available, owning a car will become increasingly less common outside of classic cars that are restored for pleasure and driven on a Sunday. 

Final Thoughts

Most cars are sitting around unused most of the time, and if we have automated cars available at our beck and call, the number of cars on the road may be cut in half. Then, as we become more likely to no longer buy our own cars, we’re less likely to need as much space on the roads or as many parking spaces. So the advent of self-driving cars is not only going to revolutionise how people get around, it’s also going to change the design of our cities. With all of these possibilities not too far ahead on the horizon, it’s no surprise that most people are getting excited about self-driving vehicles.

Antoine Bechara
the authorAntoine Bechara
Antoine Bechara is a self confessed tech geek and a lover of everything technology. His mission is to bring you the latest news and info on a wide range of products, services and gadgets, and write about tech stories that interest him in the hope of entertaining you.