Though it’s hard to imagine a country song about throwing the cooler in the back of an Apple car and being driven down the dirt road to the fishin’ hole by Siri, self-driving cars are on their way. In fact, just about everyone will be driving one, (or not driving one), in the next few decades.
Google has already test driven its self-driving car millions of miles. Tesla has an Autopilot feature already on the roads. And a number of auto-manufacturers are testing prototypes today.
There are many benefits to self-driving cars taking over the roads that go beyond the driver being able to kick back and relax during their commute. Safety will be the biggest benefit. Self-driving cars don’t break the rules and don’t get distracted. They stay within the speed limit, plan their routes and communicate, politely, with other cars around them – so a last-minute lane change to get to an exit won’t be an issue. In fact, 90% of auto accidents are caused by driver error.
Since self-driving cars stay within the speed limit they are able to operate more efficiently, reducing the need for fossil fuels and other energy resources. Parking will also become less of a hassle for drivers, since a self-driving car will be able to park miles away from where it dropped its passenger off. Instead of having vast acres of parking spaces, businesses might be able to get away with smaller, lots, or none at all.
Another benefit will be the ability for aging drivers to keep their mobility. People are living longer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that eyesight and reflexes are staying young. Being able to stay mobile and independent will have a tremendous positive effect on an entire generation of senior citizens.
The transition from a world of drivers to driver-less cars will be gradual, but will mean a lot of changes for the way we live. And though we prefer our country songs to have pick-up trucks in them, you can be sure that we’ll be here to help you keep your car on the road, no matter who’s doing the driving.