Who Takes the Wheel?

Who Takes the Wheel?

by Mckenna Whelan

Technology is so intricate, yet it makes human life so much more simple. Technology will inevitably blossom and grow; however, will technology become too powerful and big for humans to handle? From iPhones, fit-bits, laptops, iPods, and much more, technology is an enormous part of the advanced world’s life. Now there are cars that can even drive themselves! Yes, you heard me right; it’s totally possible that in the future autonomous vehicles will be flourishing the roads.

 One of the upcoming autonomous vehicles is the Google self-driving car. First the car has sensory and map information to know its exact location. The sensors can astonishingly detect the objects around it. From another car to a small child, it can distinguish between different sizes, shapes, and movement! These sensors help predict the movement patterns that will help the car avoid an object. The Google car can turn by itself and choose a safe speed limit.

The Google car may sound competent and convenient, but how could this innovation really affect our society? So many American jobs involve driving, from truck drivers to parking lot attendants. Due to the Google car the human race is at risk.

According to the American Trucking Association: “There are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States.” This doesn’t account for all the other jobs that are at risk due to autonomous vehicles.

Besides the economic loss autonomous cars impend, how safe are they? It’s true the car can pick a safe speed limit and may obey the road rules better than most people. However that doesn’t mean the car is entirely safe. What happens if the car has a glitch or a malfunction? How would a person be able to gain control if the robot has all of it?

February 14th, the Google car shockingly caused a crash involving a bus. The robotic SUV assumed that the bus behind it would slow down to let the car in when changing lanes. The car hit the side of the bus resulting in the Google car damaging its sensor, fender and wheel. No one was hurt, and it was a minor accident, though it’s something to keep in mind.

Google acknowledges the dissatisfying collision, voicing: “It’s vital for us to develop advanced skills that respect not just the letter of the traffic code but the spirit of the road.”

Yes, autonomous cars have adequate features including alertness and sensors. Though driverless cars don’t guarantee complete safety and precision. Especially when the wheel is not in our hands, there are so many variables to take into account . Whether the car glitches, or spazzes out of control, it’s all dependant on the car. Also another downfall is the devastating economic loss it may bring. Overall autonomous vehicles are undoubtedly futuristic and have potential success though it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 Lee, Joel. “Self Driving Cars Endanger Millions of American Jobs (And That.”MakeUseOf. Future Tech, 19 June 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

Fingas, Jon. “Google Self-driving Car Crashes into a Bus (update: Statement).” Engadget. Engadget, 29 Mar. 2016. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

Gershgorn, Dave. “Hackers Can Trick Driverless Cars With A Handheld Laser.” Popular Science. Bonnier, 8 Sept. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

Picture Citation

Durbin, Dee-Ann. “Latest Self-driving Google Car Heads to Public Streets.”Detroit Free Press. Detroit Free Press, 15 May 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.