Most people would agree that driverless cars are the future. With the recent leaps and bounds made in the self-driving car industry, very few people would be bold enough to dispute the fact that these cars will reduce the number of road accident fatalities. Research has shown that the number of U.S. deaths resulting from road accidents could be reduced by more than 90% by the year 2050 because of self-driving cars.
However, this is not the only effect driverless cars will have on our future. Cars and automobiles, in general, are a huge part of our daily lives and society in general. Surprisingly, as humans we are prone to getting angry as soon as we are behind the wheel. So now the questions becomes will driverless cars make us nicer people?
Such a radical change in the automobile industry will have far-reaching effects on every other aspect of our lives. If we fully adopt driverless cars, here is how things will change:
Fewer People Will Own Cars
It is expensive to own and maintain a personal vehicle. Driverless cars come with the possibility of cheap and convenient transport. Ride services like Uber will probably own fleets of driverless cars, and without the option of human drivers to pay, the running costs of such a fleet would be ridiculously low. Self-driving electric cars running on renewable energy will cost almost nothing to operate. If you can summon them and get to your destination in just a few minutes, what would you need your own car for?
1. A driverless car on a highway: If an area has only autonomous vehicles, lane lines and street signs could be eliminated, saving millions of dollars.
Driverless cars can reduce harmful emissions by up to 60%. Furthermore, these cars can be programmed to maximize the potential reductions, which is amazing news for the environmentally conscious and anyone who wants to leave a minimum impact on Mother Earth.
The Evolution of Urban Centers
Today, cities are designed for cars. Roads and highways have taken over, and cities have become less and less pedestrian-friendly. The advent of driverless cars could bring a shift to this phenomenon, reverting city design back to being of and for the people. More precise driverless cars mean narrower streets, with larger spaces for pedestrians. Fewer cars mean fewer traffic jams.
Crossing roads will also be easier because driverless cars are more considerate and reasonable than angry human drivers. Amenities such as traffic lights and parking garages would also go the way of the dodo. Wouldn’t it be nice to have parks instead of those ugly parking lots?
2. Car emission: Drafting has been shown in experiments to greatly decrease gas consumption. In one experiment it reduced gas consumption by half. However, the only way to safely take advantage of this known benefit is with autonomous features.
More Independence for the Physically Challenged
Today’s cars are not user-friendly for the elderly or disabled, or anyone else who may have difficulty getting around. Paratransit services with wheelchair accommodation—or even hospital bed accommodation—and cars with Braille buttons will be normal. And the smart driverless car will know how to find the easiest place for its passengers to board or alight from, making their lives easier.
Not having to drive means you can sit in your car and work on your way to the office. You can also choose to make the driverless car your office, driving around to clients and having meetings on the go. The fact that we have driverless cars means that vans, trucks, and buses can also be driverless. These can be converted into actual offices or stores. You can have a business model where clients order up a service and it drives to them.
This model is perfect for the majority of businesses, including gyms, restaurants, clothing stores, and even translation companies. The driverless vehicle would park in front of the customer’s house for an hour or so, then move on to the next customer. This would totally revolutionize how business is conducted.
3. Working while driving: Not only could autonomous driving reduce the millions of dollars lost in productivity in traffic by reducing it, but it can increase productivity by working while traveling to work.
The need for a short commute to work is one of the main reasons why people live close to towns. If people do not need to drive to work, they would be more inclined to live further away and just relax on the commute to and from work, without the craziness of traffic jams.
Rilind Elezaj is a digital marketing specialist.