The Problems With Autonomous Vehicles

May 10, 2023

The future of car automation, as some would say, has already started. Cars already possess the ability to alert drivers when to break; they can adjust their headlights depending on how much daylight is left, they know appropriate speed levels for economic driving, and can even parallel park and turn themselves on. The next step for fully autonomous cars is for driverless driving. Car companies have already invested in technology that allows cars to operate on the road with little to no human navigation. In fact, the technology already exists, but serious safety concerns are impeding their implementation. This article will investigate various problems with autonomous vehicles.

The Cost-Benefit Ratio

In theory, self-driving cars will cut the cost of transportation dramatically and will even transform cities. For example, autonomous vehicles will be cheaper per mile, especially because they are electric. They could also cut out the need for a car altogether, particularly for individuals living in cities. These benefits ultimately mean less spending money per pedestrian on transportation. But these changes could come at a cost. Self-driving car companies could one day raise their prices. Also, it's assumed these AIs will collect data on their passengers. At what point could it become a breach of privacy? What happens if a self-driving car refuses to let passengers out in a dire situation? Thus, the cost-benefit ratio will have to be carefully examined.

Continue reading to learn about the human element of these cars.

Programmers Are Human

A plethora of companies can be linked to their work on programming autonomous vehicles. Once these vehicles hit the market and are put to use, it'll be easy to think the car will figure it out. Consumers could very well associate their self-driving car to an actual entity. But the reality is programmers are human, and humans make mistakes. Many common human programming errors have already been identified that could roll over into the vehicle automation field, such as pressure, deadlines, and a lack of communication.

Continue reading for more information on the readiness of the technology.

Is The Tech Ready?

A common misconception of self-driving cars is that self-driving cars are controlled by classic computer algorithms if-then rules. The reality, though, is this technology is derived from artificial intelligence, and contrary to popular belief, this technology utilizes pattern recognition. This type of AI is fed image after image after image, with the hope that when it hits the road, it'll be able to recognize its surroundings. The idea is the algorithm, over time, will be able to guess unrecognizable images with high accuracy. However, the question will always be asked: is the tech ready? In theory, it's nearly impossible to feed an algorithm every possible outcome it may encounter on the road. Since incidents on the road are so unpredictable and can be so bizarre, it can be hard to justify with one hundred percent assurance this technology is safe and ready for the real world.

Continue reading to learn about the influence of weather.

Bad Weather

Nearly one thousand individuals die each year in winter weather driving conditions. It's no surprise that bad weather, in general, gives drivers a bigger headache. This issue will certainly overlap into the field of autonomous driving, such as with the sensors. When it rains or snows, sensors will have a more difficult time recognizing objects. Due to ice build up, or even hydroplaning, any change in the friction between tires and roads could lead to maneuverability issues. Furthermore, many autonomous vehicles will rely on GPS monitoring systems. During troublesome weather, the GPS system might make it difficult to detect when roads are dangerous to drive. All and all, bad weather is quite the challenge to overcome for driverless cars.

Keep on reading for information about how driver error may come into play.

Driver Error

If a self-driving car is in a car accident, who is at fault? If a person willingly forgoes control of their vehicle to its autopilot mode or other autonomous capabilities, the risk of driver error is still relevant. At this point, it becomes a matter of someone knowing when to take back control of the wheel. Even though autonomous vehicles are predicted to cut the rate of accidents on the road, it's still unclear whether that percentage will be safe enough. Not to mention, it can be difficult to place the blame entirely on an autonomous vehicle company when a driver is still behind the wheel. Car companies and tech giants would like to think autonomous vehicles are solving a problem in today's society, but the fact of the matter is no matter how autonomous vehicles become, there is still an element of human error at play.