Human or Machine Behind the Wheel?

When movies and TV shows came up with the idea of flying cars and cars that can drive themselves, everyone was anxious to see their childhood fantasies become reality. Now the day has come where companies are making strives to make these vehicles operate, some with much success. With development of this technology, development of controversy came with it. Some are in support for having vehicles fully-automated and are pushing so that the “driver” does not have to worry about driving. Most people are still skeptical and do not believe that the responsibility of driving should be left to a machine. We are here to give you the opinions of both sides and give you our opinion on the matter.

Cons of Autonomous Vehicles
Right now, most autonomous vehicles are not actually “autonomous”. Most released vehicles are at the “enhanced autopilot” stage, which means that on a highway they can stay in lane, change lanes, and avoid accidents, but it might not take the best route to get you to your exit, stop at red lights or stop signs, and other things a driver can do. An autonomous car today cannot decide whether to go or stop properly depending on the situation. The car will most likely slow down and come to a stop, which may create short traffic jams.

Pros of Autonomous Vehicles
First and for-most, the driver can ease-up in today’s autonomous vehicles. The technology is already beating human drivers in terms of safety. Tesla says that their vehicles are ten times less likely to get into a crash compared to humans. The system in autonomous vehicles are always at 100% while a human is prone to be distracted by anything inside or outside the vehicle. An autonomous vehicle will choose to slow down or stop over continuing to drive when pedestrians or animals on the road are concerned. Companies are pushing to make their vehicles completely autonomous and safe.

Cons of Human Drivers
Humans have been driving vehicles for over a century. However, we are highly prone to distractions, especially now. The driver now has more passengers to distract them, along with their smart phones, other drivers, and even pets in their vehicle. A human can check only one direction or mirror at a time. Humans will often drive under the influence or while texting which increases the risk of getting into a fatal crash.

Pros of Human Drivers
Humans can make important split-second decisions such as seeing if a person is going to jay-walk or not. They can see animals crossing the road before the senor of any autonomous car senses them. Human drivers know when to stop at a stop sign or at a red light. Humans know when to switch lanes to get out of traffic jams or reach their exit faster.

The Mindsets
On Debate.com, 31% of people are for leaving the driving to the vehicle, but the other 69% wants to maintain control of their vehicles. However, every year the number of people shift in favor of autonomous vehicles. The ones against it are concerned for people’s safety and are worried about getting hacked. Even if cars get better at being fully autonomous, some will not want to change until fully autonomous vehicles are the majority on the road. They have reason to though. Tech Times says, “the short answer [to if cars can be hacked] is yes, the computers in driver less cars could be hacked. But, ‘all the cars on the roadways right now can already be hacked through Wi-Fi signals,’ Hagemann says”. The hacking situation will be fixed along the years to prevent any harm that can come from it. The ones who are for autonomous cars understand that it is a process and that they will only get better. It comes down to not wanting autonomous car because they aren’t as advanced as people expect them to be yet or accepting autonomous cars because they are satisfied with where they are now and see that they are going to get even better.

Our Opinion
Our office is divided with autonomous vehicles as well. Approximately 42% of the office (including myself) support autonomous vehicles and would not mind giving control to one. The other 58% in the office do not want to give an autonomous vehicle control and would rather rely on a human skill behind the wheel. It must be said though that the younger ages were more in favor for autonomous vehicles, and it can be assumed that this is because they have not had as much driving experience as the older ages. This is not because they fear driving, but a more experienced driver would like the way they drive compared to how others drive, and they may not like how an autonomous car may feel on the road. We can see that autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation because gasoline will eventually deplete and concern for the environment is only growing. Right now, however, we can enjoy having both kinds of vehicles on the road and satisfy everyone’s desire on which vehicle they want.

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