Are Self-Driving Cars a Safe Option for the Future?

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By Ryan Conklin

Staff Reporter

If you had the option of always having a personal driver, would you take it? What if that driver was your own vehicle?

According to Forbes.com, over a six-year period, Google has spent a total of $1.1 billion dollars for its “Project Chauffeur,” a project dedicated to the development of autonomous vehicles.

“I think the idea is very intriguing. A world without the stress of actively driving through traffic would definitely be a better one,” said junior Arthur Natale. “I just want to give the tech a couple of years before I purchase one.”

The technology is still being updated on an annual basis. According to Businessinsider.com, the enhanced autopilot is made possible thanks to a suite of new hardware that Tesla has been integrating into vehicles since Oct. 2016.

“I would love a self driving car, honestly,” said sophomore Rachel Phelphs. “ I’m so lazy and I love to listening to music and dancing in the car while I drive, which obviously I know isn’t good, but I feel like it would be so much easier. The only thing I would be concerned about is safety because it doesn’t seem like a safe idea at all.”

USA Today reported that the House passed legislation that gives federal regulators final say over performance criteria for autonomous vehicles and could allow for as many as 100,000 vehicles a year to be exempted from safety standards while the technology is developing.

To some, safety is a huge factor in the buying process of these cars. On this matter, the government is taking a step forward by creating regulations and restrictions on these vehicles. Some students feel that the idea of finding new ways for people to do fewer things can sometimes not really be worth it.

“I think self-driving cars are almost unnecessary and just another thing that’ll make humans lazy,” said senior Lauren Kelly. “I think it would be cool if there was an option for it. You could put your car in sleep mode so it would drive for you at night if you were too tired to drive or wanted to avoid driving under the influence.”

In 2014 alone there were 9,967 deaths from drunk driving accidents, and drunk driving also costs each adult in the United States about $800 dollars a year according to statistics gathered by intoxalock.com. This would provide people with a much safer outlook on traveling far on the weekends for a night out.

Some students believe if self-driving cars were mastered and became highly available, then they could possibly bring the previously mentioned statistics down to zero.

“I think there is some really interesting facts about self-driving cars,” said marketing Professor James Deveau. “When you think of the resistance people have, they can’t believe anything like that could possibly be safe. Yet it still needs some fine tuning when it comes to the sensors in these cars.”

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