Will Self-Driving Cars Become the Norm?
Are You Even Ready for Self-Driving Cars?
Does the thought a world with self-driving cars excite you, or scare you? Based on a survey done late last year, the driving public is divided between the two. On one end are those who are willing to embrace these vehicles as the future of driving and would jump at the chance to just sit back and relax while their car does all the work to bring them to their destination. On the other end are those who feel they aren’t ready to entrust their fate on the road to technology.
A self-driving car is currently defined as a car that can steer, accelerate, and brake with limited driver interaction (semi-autonomous) or no driver interaction (fully autonomous). Self-driving cars are intended to help make our roads safer and our lives more convenient. By using cameras, radars, and sensors, a self-driving car is supposed to brake and stop when there is an imminent collision, adjust the steering wheel to ensure it stays within its lane, and assist a driver in parking, or actually park the car for the driver. More advanced technologies can also monitor the driver and alert him/her if he/she is showing signs of drowsiness, exhaustion, and inattention. Going the extreme length, a self-driving car is eventually intended to do just that: drive itself.
Why there are conflicting sentiments toward self-driving cars
Aside from the fact that there are those who do not entertain the idea of giving up the wheel at all because they simply enjoy driving, there is also that notion that technology can’t be trusted completely. Here are 3 important reasons why.
The Threat of Cybercriminals
By using ECUs or electronic control units, vehicles have become more vulnerable to being taken over remotely by cybercriminals. As more features are added for safety, convenience and fuel efficiency, more ECUs are likewise added, giving hackers a wider leeway to attack a vehicle’s on-board control systems. With a successful intrusion comes all kinds of risks and danger stemming from the perpetrator’s malicious intent to take over your car and do whatever he/she wants with it. Absolute security has been unattainable so far and even the most sophisticated and supposedly secure systems can be breached. Vehicles are no different.
My Life or Theirs?
Think trolley problem, and put it in a driving perspective. If, for example, a vehicle is faced with the choice of swerving to save multiple pedestrians but harming the driver, or continue towards a collision course to save the driver at the expense of harming pedestrians, what option will supersede the other? What should it be programmed to do? With an actual driver in control, the decision will be a judgment call based on the individual’s personality, morality, and ethics. But with a self-driving car, the decision will depend on the person who wrote the code that controls the system. For many people, deciding on what to do about a life-threatening situation is something that isn’t to be taken lightly, and certainly not something you let someone else make for you.
A self-driving car will most likely default to protecting its driver and passengers. Which means it might be programmed to assume worst case scenarios. A piece of road debris might be presumed as dangerous, alerting the driver of a threat, causing unnecessary worry or apprehension, ultimately resulting in an irrational response that will make the driving experience more perilous rather than safer and easier.
In spite of the apparent conflict between consumer acceptance and skepticism towards the idea of self-driving cars, auto manufacturers are determined to give this new wave of technology a chance. Clearly there’s no stopping this inevitability as self-driving cars are projected to become a reality in 4 – 5 years. Let’s wait and see.
Big Sky Collision Center will Fix Self Driven Cars
When self-driving cars do become the reality, we will be able to fix them. If your vehicle gets into an accident, we can repair it. If someone damages your self-driving car, then we can fix it. If hail falls and dings up your car… well you get the point.
Big Sky Collision Center is an auto body shop in Billings, MT. We repair nearly every make and model out there beyond industry minimums. Call us at 406-259-6328 to learn more about what we can do.