If you are someone who really likes to keep up with the latest technological gadgets and trends, you have probably heard a lot about self-driving cars over the past few years. But even though self-driving and automated cars are something that have been invented for a few years, they are still nowhere close to gaining mainstream traction on the roads. And we may see many years pass before self-driving cars are something we view as being normal when we are on the road in busy cities or on highways. But why are self-driving cars viewed so negatively?
The main reason why so many are skeptical about these types of cars is because we have an inherent belief that technology, automation and artificial intelligence can only go so far. While we have no problem admitting that we could come up with computers and systems that could solve complex math equations within a few seconds, we view driving as something that is inherently human. Our driving skills are a huge part of who we are, and how we see ourselves, and to think that a robot or AI could manage the same driving moves is something that really puts our humanity into question. So you are not going to see a clamoring for self-driving cars on the road anytime soon.
Another reason why these cars are viewed negatively is because people assume they would get into a ton of accidents, and it would generally be the fault of the self-driving AI system. In fact, there was a case recently where a Tesla vehicle was put on auto-pilot, and the driver in the front seat was not doing anything. And even though the car ran fine for most of the trip, the driver eventually ended up in an accident with a pickup truck or tractor, because the self-driving system did not anticipate this vehicle as it entered the road.
And when we read about such an accident, our mind always goes to the same place: are self-driving cars more of a menace than a blessing? But do we really stop to think about these cars objectively? Are there more accidents each year that are caused by self-driving cars or people? The answer is most definitely the latter. It may take some doing, but society in general will have to come to terms with the idea of self-driving cars, especially if we want to make technological progress over the next ten to fifteen years.
And for their part, companies such as Tesla, Google and Uber are really banking on self-driving cars becoming mainstream. Google and Tesla have been working on their own self-driving car for a few years, while a company like Uber would love nothing more than to be able to operate a fleet of self-driving cars that would act as taxis for people in various parts of the country. The only thing we can hope to see is that by the time self-driving car technology improves, the general public also becomes more accepting of these cars on the road!