Revolutions after the self-driving technology

With the rapid development of the technology, an increasing number of companies begin to focus on  investigation of Self-Driving technology. Google is the most advanced company whose cars have been conferred  licenses and test on road for over 480 thousand miles.

However, a recent news shows that google’s self-driving car encountered a traffic accident and google announced that  they will be responsible for this accident. Since then, there are some concerns raising  about the security, loss of the job and the legal considerations.

Against self-driving technology

Since the recent news, the google driverless car hits the bus as it pulled out. A serious problem has been placed on the public that is who will take the responsibility of the accident? Company? Engineers? Or government? Although no body get injured at this crash, we still need to make an assumption if someone is wounded in this hit should Google take the whole responsibility of the accident. In addition, if someone sit in the car but doesn’t control the car. When the crash happened, who is responsible for this accident? The driver? The car’s company or the software producer?

As the further consideration, a critical thinking should be taken by the governments and companies. The current UK law cannot entirely define the responsibility belonging, the accurate judgement cannot be made. Until the new law about the self-drive car been introduced and the perfection of the driverless technology, the self-driving car should not be extensive applied. Otherwise, the legal loopholes will cause the traffic accident chaos.

The work principle of the self-driving car is based on the cyber technology, the computer of the car connects to the internet to find the route and driving in the different traffic conditions. That means the self-driving car is vulnerable to the hacker’s attack which may lead the city under the dangerous. For instance, the cars may be taken control and cause horrible traffic crash even the deadly terror attack.

This is quite possible. Chris Roberts admitted that he has hacked into an airplane and take control of the engine. Similar to the self-driving car, because of the internet connecting, the driverless car is under the hack’s attack anytime anywhere. Would you like to be exposed to the hacker’s threat?

The most serious problem may bring by the self-driving car is the losing jobs. In the UK industrial revolution, over 1 million people lost their works due to the steam machines. The machines take the place of their positions. We could call the self-driving car as the sign of the third industrial revolution which is the AI (artificial intelligence) will displaced the human works. Especially the bus drivers and Taxi drivers, they will be panic of the self-driving car, this technology make people don’t need drivers anymore. Millions and millions taxi and bus drivers will lose their jobs, the influx of such a vast number of unemployed people into the social will contribute to the social panic and violence. If government could not introduce the self-driving car into the public smoothly and peacefully and handle the risk of loss of jobs that would be quite dangerous for the society.

From the law and ethic, security and reliability, social problem of using self-driving cars, if the government and company cannot perfect the relative problems the applying of self-driving car would never be achieved.

For self-driving technology

Applying self-driving technology on the existing vehicles will cause a huge impact to the public transport. For example, buses in the city will follow the identical routes every day, open and close doors at stations, wait the passengers get on and get off. With the self-driving system, buses take order from the system as programmed, achieve driverless as required. Also for the taxi, passengers can just get on the car, search and select their destinations, and then let the self-driving system does the rest. Similar to uber taxi calling app on the phone, self-driving system terminals can process the calling demands from customers and distribute the available taxi to serve the customers nearby, which means the total liberation of the drivers for the taxi or buses. So does the subway, train or other transportations. These kinds of transportations are facing much less complicated traffic conditions than cars on highways or urban roads. So the driverless technology is much easier to   be achieved on these transportations in the first place. In fact, semi intelligent driving system has already applied on these transportations.

It is proved that cars are parked 95%  of the lifetime. To be more specific, according to the UK report RAC Foundation in 2012, a typical car only moves 6 hours for a week, 168 hours. To maximise the usage, self-driving technology can be utilized as taxi but more efficient. For example, a car is hired and allocated to send a person to address A. After the passenger gets off, there is no driver who needs to have a rest or be relax in the car. The car will immediately depart to next  destination and begin the second task. Automatic controlled system in the car can also optimize its lifetime since necessary maintenance will be reported and solved as long as it is found. 

Most of the private vehicles are for common requires. For example, driving cars during the rush hours between home and companies or driving to  schools, supermarkets, and etc. Drivers are also play the rolls as the cargo at this point. Whether driverless or not, the self-driving technology can free the drivers from driving. Also, if the drivers are occupied, they can give direct orders to their cars to pick up kids from school and back. Or they can order their cars driving back to home and pick them up when of the work. In this case, large area parking lots around busy areas like downtown shopping centers are unnecessary. New available estate can be rebuilt into other facilities. This will greatly improve the usage of the land.

In general speaking, this technology has a huge potential and a bright future for human beings.

The self-driving car is an emerging technology with massive potential and bright future. However, the security and legal problem have to be solved before it widely come into use. In addition, governments have to well prepared about the applying both on law and the social problems.

63: Huanrong Lei, Zhikun Li, Riguang Dong

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4 thoughts on “Revolutions after the self-driving technology

  1. This is a great read and very informative. Self-driving technology is one of the most popular scientific topic over the past decade. This technology will save lots of lives and save unnecessary economic cost. People who have been affected by accidents will truly understand the value of this shift to self-driving cars.
    However on the other hand, bugs in the computer program and hacking will result in car crashes and loss of life.
    In my opinion, I would not think it is a deciding factor considered that whose the responsibility is when there is an accident. Drivers are not only for driving but also serving the passengers, drivers can deal with unexpected problem such as disabled passengers, passengers with alcohol or sudden illness. fully self-driving cars are very likely to be introduced globally, but maybe only for part of the traffic line, there is still long way to go when software can really achieve what a driver can achieve.

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  2. It’s an excellent article covered several opinions on both sides. However, the pro’s part has a much more impacting structure and persuade me to shift the ground.
    I’d like to suggest the opponents involving ‘the trolley problem’ thinking as the mean focus point instead of caring those professional drivers. Full employment can only be found at the age of everyone is a farmer.
    The scenario of picking children from school to the workplace is easy to get resonance. Put this scene up front may amplify the effect.
    Compare with the technical barriers, the ethical issues about all kind of self-driving vehicles include subways, cars, trains, buses even planes are thornier and difficult to figure out an answer.

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  3. it is a great article which both side have some good example to support their view. However, I think the against side can elaborate a bit more about the responsibility and highlighting the core problem which cause the responsibility confusion. For the agree side, the statements are pretty good and convincing.

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  4. I totally agree with the opinions in this article that this brand-new technology is definitely revolutionary and will increase the efficiency of transportation significantly with the aid of computer technologies which will select the best route considering factors like traveling time and traffic conditions.
    However it is still far from practice since most of drivers suspect the reliability of self-driving technology, many just enjoy driving by themselves. Furthermore the perfection of this new technology must be carried on in order to solve the security and safety issues and increase its reliability. The legislation and ethic issues also need to be considered to eliminate the negative impact on employment and society.
    I think it is better to gives some figures to help demonstration, for example the numbers of taxi and bus drivers that will be influenced by the technology, and also it is worth to discuss the impact of this technology on the economic side.

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