A FAREWELL TO DRIVING

Iain Gillespie, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May, 2015

A

s carmakers are increasingly moving to automation for several car functions, others are exploring the possibilities of driverless cars. These driverless cars would solve many of the issues that occur from human error. Picture a driverless world: When you need a ride, you summon a car via a mobile application. When you arrive at your destination, the car leaves you to pick someone else up. Google, a big proponent and key innovator of driverless cars, has currently traveled over 1.6 million kilometers with its self-driving Google Car and has had 11 faultless accidents. Safety is not the only benefit of self-driving cars though: removing traffic congestion, reducing air pollution and cutting back on fuel consumption could save economies billions of dollars in real money and social benefit. Right now, the only setback is that cars like the Google Car are only capable of going speeds at or under 25mph. To solve this, programmers at Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research have been teaching cars how to both “behave courteously” along with having the skills of a real-life racing driver. Within the next few years, and with a boost from technology, it’s likely your car will be a better driver than you.

James Saft, South China Morning Post, 29 May, 2013

D

riverless cars are new, popular and becoming what every automaker has their mind set on. But what are the implications of a self-driving car hitting the market? With an auto industry that is already over-invested in and performs at too low of a level, the industry itself could not yet handle a mass influx of driverless cars. According to Barclays automotive analyst Brian Johnson, driverless cars will lower the average vehicles per household by more than half. For automotive giants in America, Johnson said that companies like General Motors and Ford would have to cut production by 68% and 58%, respectively. These drops in production could decimate the companies. This would inevitably affect taxi drivers as well. While an Uber ride currently costs about $3 to $3.50 a mile, eliminating the driver could ultimately cut that price down to as little as 8 cents a mile, according to Johnson. Cheap transportation would seem to benefit all, but is a nightmare to those currently in the automotive or transportation industry and could lead to a massive layoff of jobs. With much to lose, jumping into this new technology should be met with caution; otherwise catastrophes could ensue.

 

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A FAREWELL TO DRIVING

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