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Driverless Cars: Do We Want Them?

June 20, 2014

By now it’s looking like the driverless car revolution is well and truly upon us – and just about inevitable, short of an unprecedented global backlash. Google is pioneering these autonomous vehicles, claiming their endless potential with regards to functionality and safety. But as the sketch of the self-driving car becomes clearer, and we begin to wrap our heads around what this will mean for society, it’s hard not to wonder whether this solves a problem or creates a new one.

As it stands, the driverless car is predicted to take the world’s roads by storm as early as 2020, making the countdown to what is viewed by skeptics as human obsoletism a short one indeed. Concepts we’ve seen of driverless vehicles appear to offer a self-driving fun station where parents and children alike can kick back with an iPad and watch, read and chat in transit. This idea of removing the human element from driving is, in one sense, astoundingly revolutionary – particularly considering the possibilities this implies. On the other side of the coin, however, there is a widespread feeling of distrust in this technology.

Admittedly, the notion of putting this immense level of trust in machines with no capacity for human judgment is a scary one – not least because of the implications. In this article, Tim Worstall addresses the question of how driverless cars will behave in road accidents – and what the frightening outcomes might include. If required to choose between driving into an obstacle or swerving out of the way, it looks like these vehicles will be forced to prioritise the life of the passenger over the life of the pedestrian, or vice versa – which is a sinister prospect when we don’t know the car’s agenda.

Legal liability is another aspect of the driverless movement still shrouded in almost total mystery. Right now drivers are, of course, liable when there’s an accident – but with no human driver to hold accountable, the question remains as to who can be made to pay the price.

It’s undeniable, however, that these self-driving cars offer a host of legitimate and substantial benefits. Delivery services would no longer require human drivers – with automakers able to design these vehicles minut seats and headroom, and all electric. Better yet, these cars offer a chance for elderly citizens to get around when they’re too old to drive. By 2030, over 20% of the UK population will be over 65, and self-driving cars offer an elegant solution to mobility for the elderly. These are benefits that can’t be overlooked, even in the face of many details which are still admittedly sketchy.

So the bottom line is this: driverless cars are a ground-breaking innovation for the motoring world – but not without many potential dangers and obstacles. We’ll have to wait and see how this thing unfolds as we roll closer and closer to D-Day 2020 – and whether there will still be a place for human drivers once these talented robots are finally equipped to take over.

If you want something you can drive yourself, the Car Loan Warehouse can help with that. We’ve got a range of car financing options available to suit any budget – and we work with dealers and lenders to find you the best possible match. Know what you want? Try our car loan calculator to find your rate, or apply now to get this show on the road.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.