The talk of autonomous cars is everywhere with manufacturers anticipating their vision of the future. As more companies are racing to bring this advanced technology to our public roads, it seems it is just a matter of time when drivers are the minority.

You might have heard how Elon Musk envisions a future where cars and trucks can pilot themselves in many conditions without the need for human intervention.

Ridesharing app Uber has already been working on cars that can drive without the need for a driver. It’s a bit ironic, as Uber put the taxi world on edge with its app jabbing a dent into the taxi market. Now if that wasn’t enough, they are planning to get rid of their drivers by using autonomous cars. They might not have come out and said it in so many words, but actions speak louder than words, and the self-driving Uber cab is on the table.

Apple and Google have their ambitions in this market also. Self-driving Google cars are already in testing on certain roads, and new reports are surfacing about how the tech giant has filed a US patent that would see their self-driving cars fitted with sensors that can detect emergency vehicles.

Volvo is teaming up with Autoliv, to make autonomous vehicle software available to just about any manufacturer. Instead of developing autonomous vehicles from the ground up, companies can pay to use the technology from Volvo and Autoliv potentially saving large sums of money.

Autonomous Cars Pros And Cons

Volvo Autonomous Cars

As more tech and automotive companies are developing their unique approach to self-driving vehicles, it’s almost impossible to keep up with all the latest developments.

But what does this all mean for the future of people and cars? Here are a few thoughts about what I think are the pros and cons of this technology.

Pros

  • A safer alternative for people who can’t drive
  • Eliminate distracted driving
  • Possible reduced insurance rates
  • Easier to drive long distances
  • Improved fuel efficiency

Let us admit it; there are just some people who just should not be driving at all. I’m sure you have seen many drivers who just don’t signal lane changes when they should or those who exit the freeway at the last-minute from the far left passing lane.

At least in an autonomous car, occupants can text and play with all of their gadgets without having to worry about concentrating on the road. I would hope this technology would cut insurance premiums by a substantial amount. After all, the car is doing all the driving, and it is probably doing it at the speed limit conserving fuel.

Cons

  • Sucks all the fun out of driving
  • Eventually only a select few will know how to drive
  • Workers in the transportation industry will take a hit
  • Driverless cars won’t be cheap
  • Could open the doorway wide open to hacking

If you are an automotive enthusiast or just someone who loves to drive, in general, a manual gearbox most likely would be your weapon of choice. With self-driving vehicles for the future, the stick shift might be somewhat of a bit of nostalgia.

The problem with some of us and technology is that we rely on it a lot and probably too much. What would be the need of learning how to drive, if the car will do it all for you. We already have cars that will park on their own because there are those who can’t park.

Cars with autonomous technologies might be vulnerable to hacking. It’s already possible now, so more safeguards would have to be in place to prevent attacks.

And what about the costs associated with owning a driverless car? With the amount of advanced sensors and computers needed to make autonomous vehicles work don’t expect these cars to come cheap. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are invested into a single vehicle just to make it work.

Conclusion

Advanced technologies that work to make our lives better is an excellent concept. A future where cars can drive without human intervention is a technological feat that many of us can’t fully appreciate. Every day people lose their lives on roadways because of distracted driving and drunk driving which continues to be a problem.

But there are some of us who don’t want to be forced into embracing this kind of technology. Many of us love the feel of an open road along with the satisfaction of a manual gearbox with a firm clutch feel. Big horsepower machines where you could spend all day at a track or on the back open country roads with endless corners to take advantage of is still a beautiful thing. Driverless cars are going to become a part of our future like it or not. But much like the laptop, there are uses for this technology for those who want it. For those who need the full power of a desktop, there simply is not an alternative. A laptop is just an extension of the more powerful desktop computer, much in the way autonomous cars will be.