The advantages of the autonomous car

April 11 2016, Marie-Andrée Boisvert

The advantages of the autonomous car
Last January, Obama announced plans to invest $4 billion in a transportation system worthy of the 21st century by focusing in particular on autonomous cars.

Last January, Obama announced plans to invest $4 billion in a transportation system worthy of the 21st century by focusing in particular on autonomous cars. It is not through pilot projects that the U.S. President wants to gradually introduce autonomous cars on the roads. Moreover, the agency that regulates the auto industry for our southern neighbors, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), welcomes this new policy, and here's why ...

Undeniable progress

In 2013, there was already talk of autonomous vehicles within the NHTSA. Furthermore, the major U.S. agency established a draft policy recognizing the possibility of developing a network of autonomous vehicles. The interest of the NHTSA in this technology lies in the fact that it could eliminate 94% of fatal accidents involving human error.

Autonomous vehicles are therefore already promising, but what about the other benefits to consider in the advent of this technology, while remembering that the introduction of technologies over the past 50 years have clearly changed the mores of society such as television, the Internet and more recently social networks?

The benefits to consider

In addition to significantly reducing the loss of life on our roads by human error, here's why the introduction of an autonomous mode of transport could dramatically change our lives ...

  • A reduction in accidents due to better reaction time and greater reliability of computerized systems
  • A reduction in congestion thanks to better circulation, and almost instantaneous homogenization of traffic, thanks to a communication system between vehicles
  • The occupants of the car could focus their attention on something other than driving
  • An increase in speed limits
  • You may not own your vehicle by subscribing to the companies that are themselves owners of autonomous car parks
  • The removal of behaviour constraints linked to driving. Age or health limitations of the occupants are no longer relevant
  • A reduction in the number of parking spaces, especially downtown, since the car may drop off its occupants and park itself much further away
  • The disappearance of many route changes and redundant trips (for example, taxi or bus trips could disappear) or of trips requiring a driver to return a car. One can also think of visits to the garage for inspections
  • The disappearance of police checks and vehicle insurance
  • Automatic delivery of products from grocery stores or supermarket
  • Reduction in space needed for car parking through the sharing of autonomous  vehicles
  • Reduction in signage, since cars could receive information electronically from the environment (but for pedestrians, this signage would still be necessary)
  • Greater energy efficiency, which would result in less pollution.

In short, by introducing a network of autonomous vehicles, it seems indeed that we’d be safer and that we would have more free time. All that remains is to experience these new cars and overcome the problems that could occur before the mass introduction of these vehicles on our roads ...