Editorial: Drivers Not Wanted

Posted on 03/04/2019

By Enoc Curiel

The automobile has held a near monopoly in transportation since the introduction of the Ford Model T over a hundred years ago. Since then, relatively not much has changed about the design of our vehicles. There’s a steering wheel, a brake pedal, side view mirrors, etc.

Furthermore, driving has been a part of everyone’s graduation into adulthood for decades now, too. Teenagers wait eagerly to earn their license and tout it to their peers. Driving a car has become part of our lives and the most basic man-over-machine relationship in our world.        

However, that needs to change. Nearly 1.25 million people die in road accidents each year. Road crashes are the leading cause of death for young people ages between 15-29. And they cost $518 billion globally every year.

Humans are prone to mistakes, millions of mistakes according to the numbers, and despite the possibility of mistakes a robot could make in a self-driving car, the cost will be markedly less compared to those of human mistakes.

Tesla, which has famously been a leader in this movement, offers an Autopilot system in their vehicles already. The company has stated that the feature is not totally autonomous and requires a driver’s input.

However, some drivers have misused the system and a few teslas have been involved in accidents while in Autopilot.

Those accidents have become national news; however, the public should not let these accidents keep them from welcoming the self driving wave.

Autonomous vehicles will be able to make decisions hundreds of times faster than humans could. They will not get distracted, or text and drive. Once perfected, car accidents will be a rare occurrence.

People should be reasonably cautious, but this will usher society into a new age of transportation free of speed limits, traffic, and, for the most part, accidents.