Despite what critics assert, it’s only a matter of time before autonomous vehicles do all the driving for us. That’s a good thing. It’s also a bad thing.
The following is a running list of the pros and cons of driverless cars. Am I missing something? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll make sure it gets added to the list.
Kids can get behind the “wheel.” Also, elderly riders don’t have to hang up the keys.
Machines don’t get tired
Eliminating the need for overnight stops, semi-trucks would arrive at their destinations in record time. Cross-country road trips could be safely completed in one or two days.
Machines don’t get confused
Who has the right of way at a four-way stop? Is that speeding car going to yield? Autonomous vehicles eliminate the guesswork.
Increased productivity and time savings
Get your last hour of work done on the road. Leave on vacation the night before and sleep in the car. Parents would no longer be distracted by kid antics.
Get to destinations faster
A common misconception is that driverless cars would go the “speed limit.” In fact, speed limits are designed for human drivers. Current vehicles have the capability of reaching speeds up to 160 miles-per-hour. Autonomous vehicles would harness this capability — allowing riders to reach their destinations in a fraction of the time it now takes.
No more quick glances at the landscape. Everyone in the vehicle would be able to fully appreciate the scenery. No traffic means no traffic jams. Most backups are caused by the ripple effect of one car hitting their brakes (even if not necessary) and then a domino effect of brake lights ensues. Road rage would be eliminated.
Ride-sharing (and not owning) means you can ride in a convertible on the weekends and not have to pay the insurance and other costs currently required. Luxury cars will be fully enjoyed without distraction. Further, shared rides open the possibility of meeting new people.
More cash in your pocket
No license fees, no registration, no maintenance costs, no speeding tickets, lower insurance. Enjoy the savings!
Slow widespread acceptance and regulatory fears will keep initial prices prohibitively high.
If you own your car now, you only have to worry about insurance and gas. Driverless cars will force into your budget things like pick up fees and other transportation costs. Few people will be able to fix their own driverless cars, which add high maintenance fees. Insurance companies aren’t about to sit by and take a hit. Driverless car insurance will be debilitating.
Massive Job Loss
Fans like to say no one will be affected, but the fact is that many folks will be put out of work. Hotel, restaurant, and attractions workers will feel the pinch. Others will find their hours drastically cut, such as car makers, car salespeople, insurance brokers, etc.
Welcome to the horse and buggy vs. car era of yester-year! Further, there’s a growing movement to “bully” driverless cars. Jerk drivers know autonomous vehicles will follow the rules, and the riders will be unable to retaliate.
Where is all that data being stored, and how is it being used? Does the government really need to know you had Burger King last night, or how long you were at the bar? Further, with no more funds coming in from speeding tickets and red light cameras, police will set up checkpoints and harass you at will.
End of Entertainment
Motorcycles, ATVs, golf carts, and more will become police targets. Will antique vehicle enthusiasts still be allowed to drive to shows?