Should we introduce driverless cars?

Driving is something that we need to learn at some point in our lives. The skill of driving is necessary in order to navigate through many places. While we navigate to places, we must always keep our eyes on the road and be cautious of others around us. However, what will happen if we do not keep our eyes on the road and do not even touch the wheel? This may seem scary, but according to recent headlines, driverless cars are being tested. Only one question remains: Should we allow them to be introduced on the road?

Driverless cars will be designed so that they can maintain their speed on any road. Within a push of a button, driverless mode can be activated on a standard car. Once driverless mode is activated, the driver does not have to worry about pushing the break or the accelerator, and can simply enjoy the ride. Although the driver does not have to worry about controlling the car, there is a great deal of uncertainty about whether the driverless car will crash.

Computers and cameras allow the driverless car to recognize when other cars are coming to a halt. The car is able to adjust its speed to accommodate for other drivers. Though the car is able to stop when the need arises, there are some doubts as to whether this function should be fully trusted. One reason why it cannot be trusted is because the car relies so much on other technologies, in this case computers and cameras. Another question that arises is whether these driverless cars can be hacked. Since we are in a developed nation, the rates for these possible hacks can indeed increase in number. If there is a glitch in the system, this can make the systems go haywire. In turn, this can cause the cars to lose their balance, which may cause more accidents to occur on the road. In this case, technology can take an unexpected turn. We would rather control the safety of our own lives than trust technology to do it for us.

According to a poll by US Today, “more than 75 percent of Americans are fearful about riding in a self-driving vehicle”. This could be because Americans are scared that it will be a relatively new technology and because these cars are still being tested for safety. Many of the people that were polled in US Today were scared about driving on a road where there are self-driving vehicles.

On the other hand, we continually have a long debate as to whether these self-driving cars will be safer than some of the reckless drivers on our roads. Many accidents today occur because a driver may be texting while driving, or because the driver was speeding. With the self-driving car, many of our drivers who have trouble concentrating on the roads do not have to worry about this problem. The car does all the work for them.

Still, the question remains, should we allow these cars on roads? Currently, more research is being done on these types of vehicles, including tests on whether they are able to function on the road. These cars are projected to be in the market in 2021 or earlier, as the Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx predicts.

While the idea of driverless cars is being introduced to the public, we must carefully consider what can happen with new technologies. While technologies can make our lives easier, a car controlled only by computers and cameras sounds a bit extreme. Therefore, it is imperative that we carefully consider the effects of driverless cars on safety, as safety is of utmost importance.


Anusha Kumar is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anusha.kumar@uconn.edu.