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It’s no secret that self-driving cars have received a decent amount of hyper over the last few years. With all the wealthy tech CEOs pouring their money into autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, and flying cars, it is fair to say that you will see drastic changes in the transportation industry in the future.
The Change of the Industry
But, with all the excitement, there are a lot of people that are nervous for the cars to hit the roads. They are scared that they will get hacked, randomly spazz out and drive off the road, or not be able to be controlled. While those fears are definitely possible at this stage of the technology, by the time they become mainstream and are approved by the government, they will have had substantial improvements.
By understanding the inefficiencies and benefits of self-driving technology, you will be able to understand why there is not only a large push to get the technology on the road, but it will motivate you to help make that push too.
The Inefficiencies of Modern TransportationSome people might be wondering if this innovation of self-driving technology is necessary. After all, you enjoy driving in your own car, at your own time, to your own place. How would this technology help traffic, if any? What are the problems with cars nowadays?
Here are 3 ways to show the inefficiencies of modern day transportation:
1. Space OccupiedHave you ever been on your commute to work, stuck in traffic, and looked at the carpool lane and see a bus driving right by you? The somewhat funny reality behind that is that bus is taking 40+ people in that one trip (and faster, I might add), compared to you sitting alone in your car. As you can see in the picture below, individual drivers take up much more space compared to a bus.
2. Money SpentWhen drivers have a heavy foot, it is there gas that will quickly disappear. A consumer report stated that driving 75 mph, instead of 65, on the freeway reduces your overall fuel economy by 3-5 mpg. Furthermore, if you need to take a toll on your way to work, you could actually be spending more money taking a car by yourself, compared to taking a bus.
3. Time UtilizedResearch shows that cars are parked 95% of time. That means that only 5% of the time is used for its actual purpose of driving. This lack of efficiency is stunning! Essentially, you pay thousands of dollars for the convenience of being able to take your car whenever you want.
The Benefits of Self-Driving Cars vs. Human-Driving CarsSelf-driving cars are coming and there are plenty of reasons that you should be excited for them. Contrary to common belief, the future of self-driving cars will actually lead to a safer, more reliable, and even cheaper future. Here are just four reasons to look forward to the technology:
Reduce accidentsThe top 4 causes of car accidents are distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and reckless driving. A common theme in each of these causes are human error or judgement. Whether it is swerving into another lane, texting, in a rush, or another cause, humans have a tendency to want to multi-task.
Similar to cell phones, technology has a way to grabbing your attention and as consumer technology advances, we will only get distracted more. Self-driving cars would eliminate the human judgement needed to drive, resulting in less accidents.
Reduce insurance costsInsurance companies realize that most of the accidents are caused by human error and that we can get distracted. The result? Higher insurance premiums in order to cover their risk of insuring human drivers.
However, if all the cars on the road are programmed and have algorithms, the risk will be dramatically minimized, reducing our insurance costs. This, obviously, is in theory, as I’m sure they will find other ways to keep their revenue steadily increasing.
Increase personal timeOne of the best benefits of self-driving cars is that it allows you to shift your attention (assuming a more advanced technology, not the current state of self-driving cars) to your family, friends, or technology. You will be able to work on your computer, respond to those texts, plan a date, or even nap when the technology has advanced enough.
Reduce trafficWith all self-driving cars being operated with algorithms, it will be easy to see that they will connect to smart roads and lights. The lights will be more sophisticated and the cars will be able to talk with each other. The benefit of this? There is no more of a lag between stopping and starting.
Here is a quick video that explains how traffic jams are created. As you will see, it is primarily a delayed reaction or just slower movements. When cars are all connected to each other and the traffic lights, there will be no delay. The cars will start and stop together, the traffic lights will no longer make you wait for a minute before turning green, and there will be no more running red lights.
Solution: Self-Driving Technology for Public TransportationA great solution to not only reducing the inefficiencies, but leveraging the benefits is self-driving public transportation. Here is a startup that is looking to disrupt public transportation: Next Future Transportation.
This company is currently building a network of self-driving “pods” that are, essentially, a merge between Uber and a bus. You can hail a pod to pick you up at your house, a bar, or anywhere else. Similar to Uber, the company will then send a single pod to pick you up. Once you get picked up, the pod will then get onto the road and connect with other pods.
Only one pod of the hundreds (or thousands) will go out of the way to get you, allowing other riders to get to their final destination faster by eliminating all the unnecessary stops. After your single pods connects with the other pods on the road, the doors will open and allow you to move between pods. Each pod will have a different destination and route. Just like a bus or train, you will then get onto your pod that will drop you off at the destination.
This pod method reduces the space that is occupied on the streets, the money spent to travel, and the utilizing of having a car. It also adds the benefits of self-driving technology, making it a great option for our future transportation.
Conclusion: Next TransportationOverall, self-driving cars are not in a place that it will dramatically change the industry in the coming months. However, over the next few years, there will be a significant shift and there is nothing that people can do about it. Innovation will transform the cars to drive themselves, but along with that, comes great benefits.
Knowing the inefficiencies of driving individual cars and the benefits of self-driving technology, you now can be excited about the future changes coming to the transportation industry. No more traffic, no more accidents, while still having the convenience to get anywhere you want.