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Don’t Be Afraid of Autonomous Driving, It’s Growing and Here To Stay

Written By, Brad R.

The future of self-driving vehicles has captured an expanding audience in the last few years, especially with the additions by Waymo's self-driving vehicle service. While we are still years away from a fully-functioning fleet of vehicles that outnumber human drivers, there's a growing level of comfort that will still need to be received by communities at large. Some reports have up to 10 million self-driving vehicles being on the road by next decade, as early as 2020 according to Forbes.

What's the Fuss About Self-Driving Vehicles?

Relax. There's no rush just yet to worry about an automated vehicle being in the next lane; unless you're in Arizona where Waymo has unleashed thousands of new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vans. Those Waymo Pacificas are currently manned by humans, but they are driving standalone with their patented technology that moves with traffic in a seamless fashion. Waymo has logged over 8 million miles with these automated vehicles. Some automakers are on board with the latest trends to add and implement the latest technology into their vehicles, like Tesla has done with some hands-free driving features. Of course, there are hardly any vehicles on the road today that are driving without the help of a human.

Two surveys published by the American Automobile Association earlier in 2018 as well as a Gallup poll in May 2018 revealed that 63 percent of people reported feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. More than half of those asked also revealed they would opt to never ride in one. Of course, that's the fuss and lack of understanding of the magnitude of how far autonomous vehicle technology has come. Humans haven't exactly been perfect drivers, so this is a solution that was made to help people focus on other tasks and relieve congestion on the roads.

Reasons Why Humans Aren't the Safest Drivers

Ever felt drowsy or sleepy upon waking up, only to drive a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds at speeds greater than 70 miles per hour mere minutes later? Ever heard of a thing called a DUI? Maybe distracted driving due to using a smartphone or spotting this behavior on the road? These are human problems that won't affect vehicles that are run by a computer. That's right; a machine will be able to drive without sleep needed, won't be paying attention to new messages and won't ever drive intoxicated.

94 percent of car crashes are a result of human error and in 2016 the top three causes of traffic fatalities were distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding. We're certain that giving up control to a computer will seem wrong and silly, but the technology has caught up with the times. New cameras and radars infused into these special self-driving vehicles have reshaped the possibilities. Onboard computers fuse the view ahead on the road with incoming data to stream together and apply intelligence, helping the vehicles commute safely ahead.

Growing Trust In Not Driving Ourselves

As the culture has changed from taxis and Uber or Lyft drivers taking us where we want to go, humans gave up the task of driving and let the focus go to other things. In the future, this role will become automated to reduce expenses and allow for passengers to do anything else but focus on the road (or not focus while driving). As far as bad drivers go, this might be a welcome experience!

“Keeping our drivers, our riders and the public safe is our top priority.” -Waymo said in a statement to the press.

As of December 2018, there were 21 reports of police being involved with humans attacking Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vans. There’s been tires slashed and weapons used against the vehicles and the standby drivers being sacred for their lives. As the future of automated vehicles and companies helping them expand continues, acceptance like anything else in this world is key to having a better, more well-rounded society.

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