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Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Society into a Brighter Future?

Jacob Lozinsky          114070364          ENES 464

Driverless cars, also known as autonomous vehicles, will truly reshape the way we think about transportation. Though many experts still speculate when the technology will become mainstream, there is a general consensus that we are inching closer and closer and it could be ready within the next 5-25 years. Impacts from driverless cars reach many parts across society. First and foremost, it is imperative to note that, in theory, thousands of lives could be saved every year as a result of the decrease in car collisions. But, it is evident that there exist many other important implications as a result of this technology. Additionally, it is estimated that workers can be more productive, since they will not have to drive and instead could possibly get work done in the car. There are also clear implications for the taxi industry, and this has been noted through the immense investments in driverless technologies by companies like Uber.

The old image of the American dream often depicted the open road. That thought has changed dramatically as traffic has become an ever increasing problem. Driverless cars could allow traffic to automatically get re-routed as well as prevent traffic caused by car crashes. If people can rely more on efficient transportation, there are plenty of beneficial impacts. This doesn’t mean we should gloss over potential threats or negative impacts that could result from this technology. For example, cars could now be susceptible to hackers, so security measures will need to be beefed up. Furthermore, there are problems that could result if legislation lags behind the development of the technology regarding rules, regulations, and standards.

Overall, it is hard to tell every way that this technology could impact society. But, it is clear that the impacts will be large and far-reaching. Many impacts could also be indirect. For example, cheaper shipping could mean that consumer products could be less expensive for the final customer. But, it could also spell disaster for the thousands employed as truck and taxi-cab drivers who will find themselves out of a job.

 

Sources:

http://fortune.com/2017/09/13/gm-cruise-self-driving-driverless-autonomous-cars/

https://www.wired.com/story/when-will-self-driving-cars-ready/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/oliviergarret/2017/03/03/10-million-self-driving-cars-will-hit-the-road-by-2020-heres-how-to-profit/#1663901e7e50

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