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Driverless Cars: Pros and Cons

Last Updated on April 13, 2021 by TechStrain

Self-driving cars have been gaining quite popularities lately as so many self-driving cars, specifically cars with autopilot facilities, are gaining substantial importance. Self-driving cars have many potentials, as it has got so many pros or advantages and pretty big cons or disadvantages. The pros of self-driving cars include reduced accidents, less congested traffic, environmental benefits, and cons include huge expenses, loss of jobs, and machine-making decisions.

Benefits of self-driving cars (Pros)

Reduced Accidents

In most of the cases of accidents, drivers are responsible. As peoples have got so many vulnerabilities which includes

  • Loss of attention or distraction
  • Tiredness
  • Drink & Drive
self driving vehicle

AI behind the wheel makes that vulnerability obsolete. They don’t drink, don’t get tired, and do not lose their attention over a phone call or do not fall asleep during driving. A set of rules are set, and they do not tend to break any rules. And that is one vital benefit of AI behind the wheels. The rates of accidents are going to reduce substantially by the use of self-driving cars as accidents occur mostly because of breaking the traffic rules.

According to a Washington Post report, the fatality rate of self-driving cars is 1.18 for every 100 million miles. The amount of data is still scarce; thus, it is yet not possible to declare which form of driving is safer with humans or without humans. But AI is likely to reduce the accident rates as some of the cases involve human’s faults behind the accidents.

Reduced Traffic Jams

AI-driven cars will reduce the amount of congested traffic. People often break traffic rules which lead to severe traffic jams and accidents. AI will not violate traffic rules, which will ensure less congested traffic. Fewer traffic jams mean more hours of productivity as traffic jams lose a lot of our valuable time.

Environmental benefits of self-driving cars

Most of the vehicles run on gas or petroleum, which is already harmful to our environment. AI taking control of wheels will surely reduce the amounts of waste on fuel by human misuse of gas and brakes.

Another environmental issue of self-driving cars is that most of the latest self-driving cars are adopting an electric fuel system, which is supposed to be more efficient fuel and less harmful to our environment. As a lot of contamination has already occurred to our environment, it certainly holds many environmental benefits that cannot be ignored.

Economic benefits of self-driving cars

image of a dollar

According to a research report on Science Direct, road injuries alone will cost the world economy USD 1.8 Trillion in the time period of 2015-2030, which is a massive loss only due to road injuries or accidents. AI-driven vehicles if could reduce the accident rate even by a smaller margin of 5%, it will save billions of dollars in the world economy. 

Benefits of self-driving cars to disabled individuals

People with disabilities always have some serious trouble while using public transportation. Self-driving cars can ease this particular problem significantly. It will be very beneficial to disabled individuals.

Disadvantages of self-driving cars (Cons)

Expensiveness

The enormous downside of self-driving cars is its expensiveness. The average cost of vehicles with a full autopilot facility is going to be pretty high. For example, Tesla’s bestselling car Tesla Model 3 costs around 40,000$ with the complete autopilot facility, which is pretty higher than the normal margin. Cars with the advanced facility of full self-driving will cost higher than the usual ones, and that’s one big concern or cons of self-driving cars.

google's self driving car
Image Credit : Roman Boed form PxHere

Loss of jobs

One of the greatest fears of AI is that it is going to replace humans from their jobs in some places. It is quite real in this driving section. Self-driving cars eliminate the necessity of a driver for driving the vehicle. Although it is still soon as with the best self-driving facility, it still requires human supervision. But as time advances, it will be quite possible for self-driving cars to drive without any assistance or guidance of humans in the near future, which will cause loss of the vast amount of jobs in driving.

According to a report from Goldman Sachs Economics Research, U.S. drivers could see job losses at a rate of 25,000 a month, or 300,000 a year, due to the rise of an autonomous vehicle.

Machines Making Decisions

It may seem a little off aspect as in the AI-driven vehicles, machines are already making decisions as they are controlling the vehicle. Let’s put some light on the matter.

automation system of self driving vehicle

There is a total of 5 levels of Automation, not counting the Level 0 automation. These are

  • Level 1 Automation: Driver assistance automation which requires drivers to be in control with some certain assistance from the AI
  • Level 2 Automation: Partial Automation involves drivers taking control at certain moments, although AI can assist in controlling the steering and the speed.
  • Level 3 Automation: Conditional Automation is really advanced Automation as a car is capable of driving itself with some limitations. It still requires human drivers to take control of a certain situation
  • Level 4 Automation: High Automation can drive a car itself without any human interaction. Cars with Level 4 automation could drive automatically in all conditions except for some. But the legal regulation does not permit cars to run without any human supervision.
  • Level 5 Automation: Full Automation means that vehicles can drive in all conditions without the need of any human assistance. Due to the legal regulation level, five automation is still a couple of years away.

The sole reason for explaining all the level of Automation is that, when UBER’s automated vehicle caused fatality to a pedestrian in Arizona, it was a little complex case. The pedestrian was walking with her bicycle outside of a crosswalk. The AI did not take into account the condition as the woman was walking outside of a crosswalk with a bicycle. Although human supervision was there, he or the machine could not do anything.

This leads to the question, which is whether artificial intelligence that drives the car is ready to handle the real world. It was not a level5 automation operation, but still, when the level 5 automation takes control, will it be able to handle some suddenly aroused complex situations like humans do?  

Humans have real intelligence, which could be any situation without being taught in the first place, which is almost impossible for AI to achieve. Thus we cannot completely eliminate human assistance as it is and will be difficult to rely undoubtedly on ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

Could self-driving cars be hacked?

It is another significant concern about self-driving cars. Theoretically, it is possible for the self-driving cars to get hacked, which is in papers. But for the real world, it is super difficult as companies like Tesla often provide big prize money for hackers to hack their system, as they are trying to make the system as secure as possible.

But there will always be chances of autonomous cars getting hacked, which may cause a lot of chaos. Hacked driver-less vehicles can cause accidents and some other major serious problems, so yeah, it is a significant threat and drawback of self-driving cars.

Conclusion

Self-driving cars are going to dominate transportation in the upcoming years as people really like the transformation of cars from driven by humans to fully automated driving. And it has great potential to change and improve the current condition of our transportation system. There are some drawbacks if those drawbacks could be minimized, then Yeah, there is a significantly improved future of transportations ahead for us. 

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