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The idea of having a computer or A.I. driving people around is something that the majority of people in 2019 are still having doubts about when it comes up. However, this futuristic concept is inevitable, in fact, we are much closer to the times of driverless cars than we may think. Some believe that we may not see this for another 10 years or so, however, I believe we may have A.I. behind the wheel sooner than that. Due to the deployment of 5G technology, which will be a game changer in the information technology and communication industries real soon, I’m going to guess by no later than 2025 we may see people trading their automatic transmission vehicles for autonomous ones. Once 5G becomes nationwide, it will only pave the way for driverless cars to become the dominant form of transportation on the road.
We already know that companies like Tesla and Google have been experimenting with this technology for about a decade now. Recently other automotive companies like Toyota, BMW, and GM have been pushing for self-driving cars to hit the market rather sooner than later. Although there have been numerous testing and reports of accidents involving these vehicles, automakers are doing more every day to get the lawmakers to license these cars and get the population to start the switch. Even though most people are skeptical to have a computer driving them around, it's safe to say that the benefits will outweigh the problems of using autonomous vehicles. After all, in 2011, people weren’t too concerned about having a stranger they never met driving them wherever they need to thanks to an app called Uber for less than half of what they would pay a taxicab. Therefore, how bad would it be to have an A.I. take you to your destination?
With anything man invents or creates, you can bet there will be trials and errors in the beginning until he perfects that creation. Regardless, of the reports we heard about these driverless cars running into walls or crashing with other cars, we have to look at the benefits just as much we need to be concerned with the defects of that technology. One of the best benefits of a driverless car, in my opinion, will be ease of flow of traffic. When you have different individuals, with different driving skills, and different mindsets, carrying on different objectives on the road, not only are you going to have car accidents, but also traffic will always be an issue. Let’s face it, unless humans become telepathic where we can anticipate another’s move and communicate with each other without leaving our cars, a network of cars linked to routing boxes around the city communicating with one another is a great way to avoid accidents on the road. Think of it like a flock of birds flying in unison. Everything will be connected, and that therefore decreases the chances of one vehicle crashing into another. We see this technology at work with most of today’s newer vehicles. For instance, the lane-keeping feature in newer cars uses sensors around the vehicle to keep the driver from changing lanes without signaling and hitting another vehicle, while the automatic braking system applies the brake whenever it senses the vehicle is about to rear-end or hit an object. However, having fewer accidents on the road isn’t the only benefit we need to look forward to. With fewer accidents, one can also assume that the monthly cost of automotive insurance will not be as high as it is currently. As far as getting around commercially, we know that Uber is looking into deploying driverless cars in the coming years. Obviously to help cut costs from paying human drivers. Now with the ridesharing industry, getting a DUI, and risking killing someone while driving under the influence will no longer be an issue as the number of DUIs and cars accidents due to drunk driving has decreased, and continues to decrease since the introduction of Lyft and Uber. However, that is not to say that partygoers should stop being responsible when out drinking. In fact, it may require a bit more responsibility from passengers if you now have a computer in a car taking you home instead of a person. Just imagine getting into a driverless car with no other human there, and here an individual passes out during the trip due to excess alcohol consumption. Now you have to think about how this passenger will leave the vehicle once it arrives at its destination. More so, if he or she doesn’t leave, will their card continuously be charged while they’re in the vehicle? When these cars get licensed to be on the road, there will be a few regulations in place to keep everything in order. Also, time management is a key benefit as these cars will always be available when anyone needs them to get around. So what does this mean for everyone else who wants to own a car for personal use or for a business?
As we all should know by now, we are heading to a time where renting is slowly becoming more financially beneficial than ownership. People want to get what they want fast, and without the hassle of dealing with commitment and contracts. Companies like HyreCar, Zipcar and Turo, provide vehicle owners to make some extra money by renting out their vehicles to tourists and local individuals who need to get around. At a small price, a person can have access to a vehicle without signing a contract with a dealership, paying a lot of money to a commercial rental enterprise, or pay a monthly leasing and insurance fee just to own a vehicle. So what does this mean for people who need to get around, delivery companies, and transportation companies? Well, these commercial firms will save a lot of money now that they won’t have to pay a driver to carry their goods and supplies to their customers, in return this will increase their profit. However, when one door closes, another one opens. If there are no drivers to take products to their destinations, you can bet there will be an extra need for loaders, unloaders, and customer service representatives to monitor the cars and transit of their products as productivity will increase due to the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of these driverless cars. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before these jobs themselves get taken over by robots as well in the workplace. What we need to understand is that we are heading to an age where there will be a lesser need for physical labor, and everything will come back to communication and technology. There’s a reason why they call it the Age of Aquarius.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, 5G technology will open the doorway for driverless cars to dominate on the road. As scary as it may be for most, I believe this to be an exciting time for humanity. Everything evolves, nothing remains the same forever. We are moving forward to new times. Rather than allowing technology to take us by surprise, we need to be ready for it. For those of us who own cars, this will definitely be a lifestyle change, and for who use cars as a means to bring in an income, always keep in mind we as humans are creative, and are made to adapt to changes. As I said before, when one closes, another one opens.