Gadgets Magazine

How Our Streets Will Change When Self-Driving Cars Hit the Road in 5 Years

Posted on the 19 February 2015 by Nrjperera @nrjperera

There’s a lot of amazement, wonder, and skepticism behind the idea that self-driving cars will be hitting the roads in concentrated numbers by 2020, at least, if Google’s projection is right. If Google is right, our roads and daily life could change drastically due to self-driving cars. Take a look at just a few of the biggest changes below.

Car Ownership Rates May Be Cut In Half

People work at different times, leave the house at different times, and operate on different schedules — even within the same households. That’s part of why so many households own more than one vehicle. However, self-driving cars may cut car ownership up to as much as 43 percent according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. That’s the highest estimate right now, and no one really knows just how much it will change. Yet, despite the lack of car ownership, miles traveled may actually go up because of how many more people will have access.

Retired, Visually Impaired, and Paralyzed People Will Use Them

One of the reasons why many elderly people and retired individuals don’t go out as much is because of their decreased vision, mobility, and reaction time—leaving them unable to drive themselves around. But self-driving cars may change that. When Google first tested one of its cars on California streets, they invited a legally blind man to sit behind the wheel. He loved it. There’s no reason why the vehicles couldn’t also help people who are visually impaired or paralyzed, which might actually increase the number of miles cars drive.

Insurance Policy Changes

Who’s responsible if two self-driving cars collide? The owners of the vehicle? The makers of the software? What happens if the car strikes a pedestrian? That’s what insurance companies are scrambling to figure out because, right now, they just don’t know. Self-driving cars will slowly merge with the rest of the standard drivers. And that means many of the early accidents may involve a person and a computer, which only further complicates the insurance issue. However, most vehicle accidents and damaged are caused by human error, which means that insurance premiums may include more comprehension and collision damage coverage than liability.

Fewer Injuries/Fatalities

The hope is that without as much human error behind the wheel, fewer people will die. Weather will still be a factor, although cars will probably eventually adjust to that, too. The speed of a car correlates fairly well with the extent of injury/death.

As you can see, our lives could change drastically with the release of self-driving cars. It is important to remember, however, that although self-driving cars are expected to release in 2020, they will be very expensive, so it will still be years until they are mainstream.

About the author:

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, technology, and women’s interests. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from Rod Gregory, an Edmonton lawyer who specializes in impaired driving cases and motor vehicle offences.

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