A modern self-driving car was just an imaginative idea just 15 or 20 years ago. Almost every single futuristic or sci-fi movie shows that the vehicle can either fly, are driven by a robot, or are autonomous. However, since then, a lot of things have changed and the idea for the future has finally become true. There are several automotive brands today that promote their working autopilot. Of course, this new technology is not developed to that same level that you would see in movies, but I believe that in five years or maybe even less, we will see a lot of technological advancements in this area.
However, as this technology is starting to get more and more popular and as more brands that you implemented in their own products, I think we should take a step back and think about whether this is good for the future of humanity and whether there are some cons to trusting our lives to artificial intelligence/machine learning.
This is a very common subject and it is useful to push this innovation to even more advanced levels. The more we talk about it, the safer it will get over the years and we might finally see it as an affordable option for the average person.
So, if you are interested in the subject, here are some of the pros and cons of mother self-driving cars that you might buy in 2020.
First, let us talk about all of the advantages of autopilot vehicles when compared to human drivers.
1. Will make fewer mistakes
The first and most obvious advantage of a vehicle autopilot is the fact that it will be much safer than the traffic system we have today. Artificial intelligence and robotics today may not be perfect, they are much more accurate when compared to humans. Many tasks today are completely replaced by robotics because they can do a lot of stuff more accurately. This is why it is believed that self-driving cars will bring a lot more safety to traffic.
Every human makes mistakes. And every human makes mistakes almost every single day. Sometimes, you forget to turn on the blinker, you fail to see the car in your blind spot, you might be sleepy, your reaction times are slower, there are basically dozen other factors that make humans unsafe on the road. When comparing this with artificial intelligence that will almost never make a mistake. The only time they can do something wrong is if they are faced with a completely new situation, which is rare.
Automotive companies simulate millions of different situations for the software/autopilot to learn how it should react when they are exposed to such a situation in real life. The more simulations automotive companies do, the more experience the autopilot will be. They are reducing the chances of a collision even more.
2. Quick response times
Another benefit of the autopilot is that it will have or already has a reaction time that is 10 times faster than the fastest human. A human will never be able to achieve those levels of speed no matter what. So, the next time a pedestrian runs in front of your vehicle, your autopilot will immediately act and press on the brakes before you even notice that anything has happened.
These quick response times will reduce the number of people that are injured in vehicular accidents every single year.
I hope that we will see a lot of improvement in the response time of modern vehicles in the next couple of years. A great sign that we will see such an improvement is the partnership between Nvidia and Toyota as suggested by businessner.com.
3. Better traffic
Considering the fact that autopilots will make a lot fewer mistakes and will have quick response times, this means that the number of accidents on the streets will be reduced to a number that is a thousand times lower than what we have today. If there are a million accidents every single day around the world, with autopilots, it would be reduced to a thousand or maybe ten thousand.
This small number of accidents and a small number of mistakes made by the vehicles will reduce the problems with traffic. The chances that you might get stuck in an intersection will be reduced to almost 0. Every vehicle in the world would be able to follow every single traffic rule exactly. They won’t go while the traffic light is red and they won’t speed up to catch the green light, they will do none of these things. This is something that only humans do for selfish reasons.
4. Technology is still not there yet
Currently, one of the biggest disadvantages of self-driving vehicles is the fact that they are simply not ready yet. Sure, we have seen impressive results from Tesla’s autopilot, but it still makes some serious mistakes that cause accidents. We still haven’t reached that advanced level of autonomous driving.
Assuming that we want the roads to be safer because of autopilot, we need everyone to have an autonomous vehicle. Unfortunately, that won’t happen anytime soon and for a good reason.
5. It is still expensive
The reason why we cannot have a perfect world where every single vehicle is autonomous is that these new vehicles are still very expensive for most people. For example, Tesla’s autopilot upgrade costs around $8000. Combined those $8000 with another $30,000 for the price of the vehicle and you get a lot of money. We can only dream of a world where everyone will be able to afford vehicles so expensive.
6. Prone to hacking
We do not know exactly the level of protection most self-driving cars have today, but I think we need to be ready that people will be able to hack into these systems. With full control over the autopilot, they would probably be able to do anything with it and that is a scary thought. So, before we make the transition to this new technology, we need to ensure that it will be protected so we can stay safe.
Whatever the cons of self-driving vehicles are, I believe it is the future and we have to aim towards improving it as much as possible.