Self Driving Vehicles – Ongoing Debate

At one point in time, autonomous cars seemed like something that would only exist in science fiction movies. However, self-driving technologies have been developed by various companies such as Google, Tesla, Uber, and Nissan, with these developments could self-driving be on the horizon sooner rather than later? 

There are currently no self-driving cars in the United States, but people have already gotten an idea of how they may work if they were to become available. Autonomous cars would make use of three components to function sensors, algorithms, and connectivity. Sensors are used for blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assistance. Connectivity means that self-driving vehicles have access to the latest traffic conditions, weather, surface conditions, and adjacent cars. Algorithms are used to make decisions based on the sensors such as when to break, the appropriate speed limit, and route guidance. 

Self-Driving cars have various benefits they could help to mobilize those that are unable to drive such as the disabled, and they could also potentially help reduce the number of those that die in motor vehicle accidents every year. Nearly 1.25 million people die in vehicular accidents each year. 

On the other hand, self-driving vehicles are not flawless, and some concerns arise out of them as well. In 2018 there was an incident where a self-driving Uber struck a woman in Arizona taking her life.  This brings up the problem of self-driving cars dealing with ethical dilemmas. When fully autonomous vehicles are driving on our streets, how will it make decisions that could threaten the lives of those that are inside and outside of the vehicle? 

The idea of self-driving cars is futuristic and luxurious, but who are we to blame if these vehicles make mistakes? Developers must take ethical dilemmas into serious consideration before self-driving cars take over the road in the near future. 

Author: Jeremiah Daniels

Jeremiah Daniels is a graduate from Rowan University with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. He is currently working for IEEE as a summer intern for Educational Activities.