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The Disadvantages of Self-Driving Cars

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An article written by Kelsey D. Atherton states, “Human drivers are imperfect pilots, placed in command of a couple thousand pounds of fast-moving metal. We’re just not equipped for the task” (para 1). Self-driving cars would make life easier, wouldn’t they? Car companies are now working on and developing them to create safer roads and ultimately make life easier for everyone. However, there are numerous concerns that need to be addressed in order for this to happen, if it even does. This idea presents safety problems, difficulties with generating maps, and it could very well cost too much money to work. Driverless cars wouldn’t be a better alternative to normal human-driven cars because their advantages don’t make up for their disadvantages.

 

First, self-driving cars, despite all the hopeful talk about them, carry a multitude of safety issues that shouldn’t be ignored. An example of this is from a section from the article “PRO/CON: Cars that drive themselves could soon become the norm” where it states, “They ... have problems figuring out when objects such as bits of paper garbage are harmless, so they may swerve for no reason” (para 8). This unreliability could be very dangerous on the highway where one swerving car could mess up the whole flow of traffic. Normal human drivers are less likely to overreact to inconsequential things on the road, so they are safer in this respect. These new cars also don’t respond to road signals outside their systems. For instance, the same article says, “Driverless cars rely primarily on pre-programmed route data, so they do not obey things such as temporary traffic lights” (para 8). Ignoring these could cause confusion with people driving ordinary cars and lead to accidents. Lastly, the robo-cars built by major companies contain technology that could pose issues on the road. The article elaborates, “The software in phones, laptops, and other devices is not designed to operate for extended periods without crashing or freezing -- and those errors would be deadly in a car” (para 7). If the software in a car crashed on a highway, the driver would be in big trouble along with others on the same road. Designers of these cars should carefully find the mistakes before jumping right in and causing chaos. It would protect many lives and save time for other projects needing attention, like the issue with nationwide maps.

 

Secondly, self-driving cars need constant feedback from maps in their systems to function properly. Essentially, the article CON: Driverless cars pose major safety issues, and relying on them is unrealistic” says, “Currently the maps for Google’s self-driving cars have only been designed to handle a few thousand miles of road” (para 12). This diminishes the chances of going on a car trip across the country without having to actually drive the car. It would be an inconvenience to the owners of driverless cars to be limited to only a certain area, unlike normal cars. The article likewise says, “Developing a nationwide self-driving car system would require countless amounts of effort and money” (para 12). This implies that in order to make driverless cars a future, it would have to be at the great expense of the producers of them. Comparatively, all this work would probably never stop because homes are constantly being built and new roads made. To explain, the section Maps For Millions Of Miles states, “To make a national system work, a company would have to maintain and update data on millions of miles of roads” (para 12). If a new area in a city hasn’t been mapped yet, a robo-car may get “confused” and fail to work. People would rather have efficient cars that they know will work well and be worth the money.

Thirdly, like creating accurate maps for self-driving cars, this whole project itself would end up taking more money from people than it saves. The article “How the government is making way for self-driving cars” wonders, “In the past, U.S. highway planning neglected minority and impoverished neighborhoods. Could an autonomous future also be biased” (page 2)? The answer is yes! The price tag on robo-cars leans mostly to the benefit of wealthy citizens. For example, the article “CON: Driverless cars pose major safety issues, and relying on them is unrealistic” states, “One report says the ability to drive anywhere with no human input would add some $10,000 to a car’s sticker price” (para 17). This will cause more than a few complications. Many people pressured into buying driverless cars without enough money would get into major debt, which is a big enough problem already. If the creators of these new cars want safer roads, they need to take everyone into account, because those who can’t afford expensive cars make up a big part of the population.

 

In contrast to this, self-driving cars can also be a way to save money. For instance, the article “PRO: Driverless cars could allow people to stay in the suburbs, and save them money” says, “The tech-savvy consumer of the future will no longer spend thousands of dollars on a new car. Instead, they will open an app on a computer or smartphone and call for their very own driverless chauffeur” (para 8). However, there are some flaws with this idea. For one, this system still excludes certain people without as many privileges as others. For example, the article “How the government is making way for self-driving cars” states, “Many systems today trade money through the use of smartphones and credit cards, though there are still large numbers of people who might not have one or both” (page 2).This suggests that no matter how popular robo-cars become, there will always be someone left out of the fad. Self-driving cars are not the solution to saving money because they aren’t marketed towards the middle and lower class citizens, who buy things they can afford and help businesses grow.

 

To conclude, self-driving cars aren’t a better alternative in comparison to human drivers. They are much more dangerous than normal cars, they rely too much on digital maps that need constant attention, and they’re very costly to the disadvantage of lower-class citizens. The solution to this problem is not switch to self-driven cars but stay with human drivers, because they more richly benefit the population.






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