While self-driving cars seem like an innovative design that can save people time, money, and hassle, they are not infallible. There are numerous pros and cons of self-driving vehicles. Although the concept offers promise, there are some recognizable problems and dangers posed by self-driving technology.
Many newer cars on the road today have features that assist drivers and warn of risks, such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping technology. There are no fully self-driving cars for sale at present because fully-autonomous vehicle technology is still in the development stage.
At the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, we are fascinated by how far self-driving technology has come. However, we don’t want to minimize the risks of automotive technology that is still a work in progress. We believe that auto manufacturers should be accountable when they introduce risky technologies and fail to provide adequate warning of the risks.
Pros of Self-Driving Cars
Self-driving cars have come a long way in a seemingly short time. Texas has passed legislation permitting the testing and deployment of self-driving vehicles, including driverless trucks. They are touted as a more efficient and safer transportation alternative. Designers and manufacturers of self-driving vehicles hope the technology can help minimize human error, such as car accidents caused by distracted driving, drowsy driving, and speeding.
What are the potential pros of self-driving cars, and can they make our lives safer?
- Economic Benefits/Cost Savings – One of the potential positive aspects of relying on self-driving technology is the cost savings to individuals and society. Some studies suggest that self-driving cars could save the economy close to $488 billion annually by reducing traffic accidents and another $158 billion in reduced fuel costs. How much more productive could people be if they could concentrate on tasks other than driving during an hour-long morning commute? Fewer accidents, less congestion on San Antonio roadways, and more productivity translate into billions of dollars of savings.
- Crash Prevention – The most common cause of car accidents today is driver error. What if you could remove the element of driver error? Could you reduce the number of accidents and traffic fatalities? The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that one person is killed in a traffic accident every hour and 57 minutes. Backers of self-driving technology claim that self-driving vehicles can prevent many accidents caused by human error.
- More Environmentally Friendly – Many self-driving cars are electric rather than gas-powered. The hope is that electric self-driving cars can help protect the environment by limiting greenhouse emissions from internal-combustion engines. Self-driving technology helps to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
- Traffic Flow Optimization – Humans use eye contact, turn signals, and sometimes gestures to communicate with other drivers. Self-driving cars will need to communicate with each other to handle complicated traffic situations and avoid accidents.
- Increased Accessibility – Self-driving technology could provide a safe and reliable form of transportation for those who cannot drive due to age, medical conditions, or other factors.
Cons of Self-Driving Cars
Although human error contributes to many serious car accidents in the United States, humans also are responsible for programming self-driving vehicles. That leaves room for debate over the safety and reliability of the technology used to automate self-driving vehicles. In 11 months, cars with automated driver-assist systems were involved in nearly 400 crashes. While the technology behind self-driving vehicles is impressive, it is not without its limitations.
What are some of the disadvantages of self-driving cars?
- Reliable Safety/Machine Error –Although many in the industry claim self-driving cars are safer than human drivers, that remains to be seen. Humans process huge volumes of information whether they realize it or not. The brain makes judgments based on this information. It’s how we interact with the world. Self-driving cars do not always perceive the environment as the human brain can. Technology can make incorrect assumptions, leaving it vulnerable to safety issues and accidents.
- Security Issues – A significant disadvantage of self-driving cars is the potential for hacking. Self-driving cars are like computers, vulnerable to software attacks. Exploiting holes in self-driving programs can leave owners vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. There is also the potential that hackers could take control of a vehicle, resulting in the theft of the vehicle or a significant accident.
- Job Loss – When new technology emerges, there is always the potential for job losses in some sectors of the economy as automation takes over and replaces certain jobs. While self-driving cars could become the wave of the future, making roads safer and transportation more efficient, those in the trucking and shipping industry worry about the future of their livelihoods. With enough innovation, there is the potential for truck drivers, gig workers, taxi drivers, and delivery drivers to be replaced with self-driving transportation options.
- Initial Cost – Self-driving technology does not come cheap. Although the long-term savings add up, what about people who cannot afford to invest in self-driving technology on day one? The cost could be a massive barrier to the public. Although there could be a less expensive alternative, there may still be safety concerns with a hybrid, self-driving/human driver model as tech and humans share the road.
Get Legal Help from Our Experienced San Antonio Car Accident Attorneys
Whether you are injured in an accident caused by a careless driver or a driverless truck, the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover legal team is here to help. With more than 30 years of legal experience, our San Antonio car accident lawyer can review the details of your situation and fight to recover the full compensation available to you.
Contact our office today to set up a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable car accident attorney. Our case results and personalized attention to your case are the keys to helping you get the money you need.