Google’s car has recently made headlines everywhere. With 3.6 million people making a living from driving taxis, ambulances, buses, delivery trucks, tractor-trailers, and other vehicles, the population is scared they will lose their jobs. Others are scared of the safety aspect. I’m here to assert that there’s nothing to be scared of.
5 Benefits of Self-Driving Cars
1.Less Traffic Deaths. There are more than 1.3 million traffic deaths worldwide per year.1 Among people ages 15-29, they are the leading cause of death. For those between ages 5-14, traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death. Between 2002-2011, more than 9,000 children, 12 and younger, died in car accidents.2 Roughly 50 million people a year are injured or disabled by traffic accidents.
The financial cost is mind-boggling. More than 500 million dollars is spent on traffic accidents annually. Multiple studies show that over 90% of car accidents are due to human error.3 On the other hand, Google’s car has driven its fleet of autonomous cars more than 3 million miles on real roads without causing a single accident.4
2. Better Environment. A self-driving car would flow through traffic more efficiently since it would instantly slow down when it senses a car or a red light in front of it. This will lead to better fuel efficiency, less road congestion and less pollution.
3.Personal Driver. Google car could drop us off, go park somewhere and pick us up when we’re ready. All with the touch of a finger on a smartphone.
4.No need to remember where we parked. We don’t have to remember this anymore since our car can be summoned by our smartphones.
5.No more need for parking lots to be close to prime real estate: Parking in U.S. cities take up 30-40% of the downtown area.4 Since we would no longer need to park around our destination, because we wouldn’t need it to be close to us, this will free up millions of acres of prime real estate. This would mean more space for businesses, more tax revenue for the government and more value for the customer.
The Google car still has a long way to go. It still needs to handle snow-covered roads, interpret construction signals, protocols against hacking and other tricky situations. Though this isn’t a solution to global warming, it’s a solution for less traffic deaths, a better environment, a personal driver, forgetting where we parked and more efficiently used real estate.
As for the job loss, this is an irrational fear that has been fostered since the beginning of invention. When Edison invented the lightbulb, the whaling industry was scared. When Gutenberg invented the printing press, scribes were scared. When Ford created the Ford Model T, horse breeders were scared. Recently, when Uber comes into a city, Taxi drivers are scared. This fear won’t go away soon. Every time a new invention is born, an industry is affected and dies off. But, the people do not. They learn new skills and adapt, the genius of evolution.
The Google car will come. It’s already here.
To your success,
- Think Like a Freak by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt