Where is the driver?
Imagine, in a few years’ time, you’re waiting for your Chauffeur Group car to arrive to take you to the airport. It turns up, exactly when it said it would, but there’s no driver! Would you climb in? Are you ready to put your faith in driverless technology?
Driverless cars would allow us to read, watch films, work, or even take a nap as we are ferried to our destination. Recent information however suggests that we’ll need a lot of convincing to hand over control and many people feel that this kind of innovation is happening just too quickly, with predictions that fully autonomous driving could be a reality within five years.
How safe are driverless cars?
The advent of autonomous vehicles has raised some very serious questions around safety; how will a vehicle be able to decide about who lives and dies when the physics of a crash (momentum, stopping distance, speed etc.) make one inevitable? Does the vehicle save its ‘driver’ (the owner of the vehicle) at the expense of the occupants/owner of the other vehicle? What if the choice is between the owner of the vehicle or a mother pushing a pram across the road?
Are you ready?
In a recent survey conducted by IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, more than two-thirds of the participants said they’re not ready to let go of the steering wheel because they’re anxious something might go wrong. This is despite the evidence that clearly indicates there is something seriously wrong with the way we drive. Each year, there are 1.25 million road accidents around the world, yet it seems we’d prefer to continue placing our trust in complete strangers, and our own driving fallibilities, rather than in a future where our recklessness ceases to be a factor.