There’s no denying the fact that there will be a lot more autonomous cars on the roads in the future. While the technology is still very much in the early development stages, it will most likely take on a snowball effect as soon as the manufacturers start to figure out the finer details. Even now there are several semi-autonomous vehicles on the roads, with Tesla and its “Autopilot” system being the most famous one.
But is it all good? Or should we be worried? Honestly, there’s only one way we’ll find out what’s going to happen – we’ll just have to wait and see. While there are certainly plenty of concerns surrounding self-driving cars, there’s no stopping it now. Here are some of the scariest things about autonomous vehicles.
11 Still Unregulated
Even though hundreds of companies are now involved in various aspects of self-driving cars and the tech behind it, there’s still a severe lack of safety standards. The information that’s available about the technology is limited, and as yet there are not enough solid facts to create a baseline for these safety standards should be. An unregulated industry might be great for the manufacturers, but it means consumers will need to put in some extra work to make sure they’re safe.
10 The Car Will Sacrifice You
One study that was published in Science Magazine showed that an occupant of a self-driving car risks being sacrificed by their own car if it meant many other people’s lives would be saved. Who wants to be the owner of such an ungrateful and backstabbing car? It’s quite a scary prospect, even if it’s far-fetched.
9 The Weather Will Mess With It
The weather is actually one of the biggest issues when it comes to fully autonomous vehicles. Bad weather will result in a massive amount of data that the car will have to process as it’s driving. This can cause problems with the computer and processors, which can lead to an emergency situation, and those may turn out to be more serious than one might think.
8 It Takes Time To Regain Control
Studies have shown that if an emergency situation arises and a computer-controlled car needs to revert to human control, it can take as long as ten seconds before that person is fully re-engaged. There aren’t many driving-related emergencies that provide you with a 10-second heads-up before you have to deal with them.
7 Jobs Will Disappear
Most people don’t think about how many jobs are actually affected by self-driving cars. All public transport, truckers, taxi and Uber drivers, all types of deliveries, private chauffeurs, driving instructors… And what about the traffic police? Or those companies that make speed cameras? An advocacy group for professional drivers, called the Upstate Transportation Association, is actually so worried about this that they’re trying to get New York to ban self-driving cars for 50 years.
6 Initially, Traffic Might Get Worse
At first, driverless cars might make traffic worse as they will be very cautious during their “learning period.” At least that’s what a study by the U.K. Department for Transport found when they looked into it. The same government agency believes that traffic delays will increase until between 50% to 75% of all cars on the road are fully autonomous.
5 Challenging Situations
Now, when two cars meet at an intersection without any lights or signs, there is a certain level of non-verbal communication between drivers that usually sorts it out. Autonomous cars don’t have a solution for this yet. Self-driving cars will need to learn to recognize facial expressions and body language in order to function properly in areas where there are pedestrians and/or a lack of signs and lights.
4 People Acting Like Morons
It’s one thing for autonomous cars to recognize pedestrians and cyclists and what their body language means, but dealing with unpredictable people is something else entirely. While testing self-driving cars in Singapore, it was discovered that most of the near-accidents were caused by people jumping in front of the cars to see if they managed to stop in time.
3 Road Rage
What will happen if a car driven by a human will try to take advantage of a driverless car by deliberately not giving way? It’s easy to say that there’s a severe risk of an accident if they do and that it’s the fault of a human, not the self-driving car – but that’s not helping if you end up in the hospital, or worse! These situations are something motorcyclists face all the time, and best riders know what to look for to stay safe when surrounded by unpredictable people – automated cars don’t know how to read these situations yet.
2 Sensor Redundancy
Let’s say they solve all these problems, so the cars will be communicating between themselves, all the roads are mapped out perfectly for them, and they learn to read human behavior… There’s still a potential chance of component failure. A sensor or camera getting iced over, a broken cable or a bad connection – the only way to solve this is to use multiple sensors that “overlap” to ensure safety.
1 Getting Hacked
Right now, cars with self-driving tech are fairly self-contained, which minimizes the risk of real-time hacking. However, if cars will be communicating with each other and the road infrastructure in the future, the risk of hacking will increase exponentially. A Kelley Blue Book survey confirmed that almost everyone sees it as a potential problem in the next few years.