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On the night of Sunday, March 18, a self driving car owned by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. This incident is not the first fatal crash involving autonomous technology. In May of 2016, a Tesla Model S hit a tractor-trailer. The Tesla’s driver was killed as a result of the accident.
Many companies like, Tesla, Uber, Google, Toyota, BMW, Volvo, Nissan, Ford, General Motors, Daimler (maker of Mercedes-Benz), Audi, Baidu, Honda, Hyundai, Bosch, PSA Groupe, Faraday Future, LeEco, and Apple are aiming to or are speculated to have driverless car technology by 2021 according to Business Insider.
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Over the last five years autonomous driving has gone from a maybe to a definitely, leaving people wondering how they were ever skeptical of the feat. Driverless technology has been said to add $7 trillion to the global economy and save hundreds of thousands of lives. It will simultaneously, however, devastate the auto industry; truck drivers, taxi drivers, gas stations, etc. will all suffer immensely from the development.
The initial development of cars has revolutionized our current society. The way in which driverless cars will affect our society I cannot comment on, however, it will undoubtedly have great effects. The real question of whether such effects will be positive or negative remains and the answer lies in the near future.
Autonomous cars are cars that are capable of sensing their environment and navigating without human input. This seems easy enough on a highway straight-away, however, bring in an element of pedestrian traffic in a big city and the equation is instantly more complicated. It will certainly be interesting to see how robots, who respond well to rules such as yield here, stop here, go this speed, etc. react to an element of spontaneity. So far, it has not been well as seen in Tempe, Arizona.
Hi, I'm Carly Berry, a sophomore at Boston University.