Self Driving Cars: A Gamechanger In The Industry

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Nowadays, the self-driving car is a massive issue in our society that we are living in, and people get more and more interested as the self-driving car market gets bigger and bigger. So what exactly are self-driving cars? A self-driving car is a vehicle that is designed to travel between destinations without a human operator. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) software, light detection & ranging (LiDAR), and RADAR sensing technology, which is further used to monitor a 60-meter range around the car and to form an active 3D map of the current environment. According to the allied market research, the global autonomous vehicle market size is projected to be valued at $54.23 billion in 2019. It is expected to garner $556.67 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR(Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 39.47% from 2019 to 2026. Self-driving cars are a great technology that makes us our lives more advanced and comfortable, but opposingly, automatic cars often malfunctions and causes problems, even leading people to death. Due to the increase of self-driving cars in the street, two different opinions on whether the vehicle should be popularized or not. Self-driving cars are a serious issue that we all need to consider while we are living in a world that is continuously changing. Relinquishing control and putting your life in the hands of a machine is a big step for people to take. There is an acceptance that normal driving carries some risks as we, drivers, hold a certain level of control. The intense focus media focus following individual car accident injuries involving Tesla Autopilot or the fatal self-driving Uber accident in Nevada show that the tolerance for mistakes from machines is far lower than we tolerate with human drivers. The market to pay extra for a self-driving vehicle or use shared fleets such as the Tesla Network or an autonomous Uber may be significantly reduced if people don’t trust they will be kept safe.

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Over 37,000 Americans and 1.3 million people globally die every year in automobile accidents. Those are staggering numbers. It’s the ninth leading cause of death globally (just ahead of HIV/AIDS), and it’s the only non-disease entry on the top ten list. Have you ever thought about the power that’s in your hands when you drive a car? It’s quite remarkable that we entrust millions of people across the world (you and I included) to navigate two-ton metal machines speeding at 60 mph between buildings, pedestrians, and other vehicles. We’re not even that good at it. While the human driving error is not the sole cause of all 1.3 million deaths, some estimates put the number of accidents committed through human error as high as 94%. Self-driving cars might not be able to eliminate all driving fatalities, but couldn’t they lower the number? It seems pretty safe to assume that self-driving cars would at least outperform a drunk driver or a texting teen, which would go a long way to saving lives on our roads. Almost a third of fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. are caused by drunk drivers (around 10,000). Additionally, cell phone use and texting have led to a spike in accidents related to distracted driving. According to the Center for Disease Control, distracted driving kills more than eight people and injured more than a thousand people each day in the U.S. alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 80% of traffic accidents and 16% of traffic fatalities are related to distracted driving. In the same figure, Drowsy Driving is also a big problem among the drivers that travel long distances or had a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. About 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year – with more than 40% realizing this has happened at least once in their driving careers. These startling figures show how prevalent drowsy driving is. What drivers may not realize is how much drowsy driving puts themselves and others at risk. An estimated 5,000 people died in 2015 in crashes involving drowsy driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association report. These are the statistical values that cannot be ignored, and by the technology of self-driving cars, we could lower these values in significant numbers.

Even though self-driving cars look like it might have huge advantages on everything, but in fact, it’s not. When was the most recent moment when you ever spotted a bus, taxi, and truck driver? Those drivers are paid to be employed and make a living out of it. According to NPR, when they published a map showing the most common job in every state, truck drivers dominated by leading the way in 29 of the 50 states. While these statistics don’t paint the most precise picture, the fact is that roughly 2.8 million Americans make a living by driving trucks. Also, there are taxi drivers. New York City alone has over 13,000 medallion-licensed taxi drivers, not to mention all the Uber and Lyft employees. Across the country, the total number of U.S. licensed taxi drivers and chauffeurs is around 190,000, while Uber claims the engagement of approximately 160,000 drivers. Throw in half a million school bus drivers and about 170,000 transit bus drivers. So with the existence of self-driving cars, human drivers are most likely to lose jobs unless it’s a field of driving where the AI cannot overcome humans ability. Last but not least, cost. Not every issue that self-driving cars will have to overcome is based on technology. Price is actually going to be one of the biggest hurdles facing self-driving vehicles. The amount of research and development that will need to be continuously done will make producing just one car a very pricey process. This means that self-driving cars will have restrictive price points for several years during their initial release. It is uncertain if enough individuals and businesses will be willing to invest in a technology that is so new and uncertain. Manufacturers will have to find some way to bring down the price enough to allow for self-driving cars to become mainstream options. A likely scenario is that individuals won’t be the primary owner of self-driving vehicles. Instead, it’s expected that fleets of cars from ride-share companies such as Uber will provide access to self-driving vehicles and reduce the demand for car ownership. Recently, Elon Musk, the owner of the company, tesla, came up with a new pickup truck. The fact that the car was futuristically designed but had mostly the same feature as the regular tesla model. Many people have bipolar views on the vehicle. But the best thing that I thought that Elon Musk came up with the price huddle was that the car had a very ‘edgy’ design, and has no color painted on the vehicle. In the process of manufacturing in vehicles, most of the high costs in buying a car come from curving design and putting a painting on the car. Surprisingly, the price of the tesla cyber truck starts with $39,900 with the features of most tesla models. Compare to another tesla model than the regular price at a range of $40,000~$60,000; it is a significant price. By making these changes, he was able to lower the cost drastically, but still having the high technologies inside, especially like self-driving.

The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car when German inventor Karl Benz created his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Until now, we have experienced the technical innovations in our automobiles, and now it is a period of time whether we should make a decision to step one further. For us, the car is a massive part of our living and cannot live without it. And we are in the stage where technology is developing and going into our more advanced lifestyles. The technology behind self-driving cars is still extremely new. While these obstacles are certainly challenging, there’s little doubt that self-driving cars will be a reality in a matter of years. The constant innovation that is happening in the world of technology and automation ensures that these obstacles will one day be seen as small bumps in the road on the way to a driverless world. 

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