Whether you like it or not, the automotive industry is heading for electric self-driving, or ‘autonomous’ cars. The popularity of manufactures like Tesla proves this enough, where all of their cars are electric and have the capability to self-drive on certain roads (such as highways/motorways). However, is self-driving cars really a good idea? There are definitely many benefits to autonomous vehicles. But, there are equally problems associated with the new technology too. To discuss this, here are some of the main pros and cons to self-driving cars.
Pros to Self Driving Cars
- Safer Roads – The vast majority of crashes that happen on roads are because of the result of human error. Introducing self-driving cars will naturally make the roads much safer, taking human error out of the equation.
- Insurance decreases – Car insurance generally increases year upon year due to crashes and other factors. If the number of crashes reduces, then the cost of insurance will naturally reduce too, helping motorists to save money.
- Lives saved – The most fatal accidents that occur with vehicles consist of going into the back of cars, along with head-on collisions. Autonomous, and even ‘half’ autonomous cars prevent such accidents from occurring very effectively. This should reduce the number of fatalities.
- Reduced fuel consumption – Self-driving cars can have the capacity to ‘platoon’. This is when cars follow very closely to each other, with information being fed in a network between the cars (so they can break and accelerate simultaneously). Due to slip stream, this can reduce fuel consumption significantly.
Cons to Self Driving Cars
- Cost – Self-driving technology does not come cheap, and Tesla proves this exactly with the price of their cars.
- Accidents still occur – Although self-driving cars reduce crashes, they do not eradicate them completely. There is still areas for improvement.
- Who’s at fault? At the moment, self-driving cars have deemed it the driver’s fault for accidents involving cars self-driving. However, is this always going to be the case?
- Hackable – Self-driving cars will, no doubt, need to have internet access whilst driving. When this happens, there is a chance of hackers being able to hack the system and potentially control the car, which has happened already to some cars connected to the internet.
- Weather impacting safety – On a dry sunny day, self-driving cars might be perfectly fine. However, when cameras are cold and frosted over, or there is fog, and severe weather conditions, how will the cars work then? Are they just as safe? If not, how do manufactures aim to make them just as safe, regardless of the weather?
Ultimately, there appears to be just as many questions thrown up as answered with autonomous cars. Fortunately, we are still quite some years away from the first fully autonomous vehicle. In the meantime, car companies will continually push technology to reach the end goal of having a car driving you from A to B automatically.