When it comes to self-driving cars, there are a number of things to think about. There are many advantages to a self-driving car.
Human factors are a major cause of automobile incidents, so taking people out of the equation and allowing a computer to take over the driving is likely to vastly improve safety. It will eliminate accidents due to driver distraction, impairment, fatigue, aggressiveness and inexperience.
BETTER TRAFFIC CONTROL
Because computer-driven cars can stay closer together on the road while still maintaining a safe distance from each other, traffic flow would improve, and existing roads and highways would be able to handle more cars efficiently. Gas economy would improve as well.
TIME SAVINGS AND CONVENIENCE
Because of better traffic control, commute times would be reduced. Since people would not have to concentrate on driving, they would have time to read, answer email and chat with passengers. Handicapped and elderly individuals would have a dependable, safe way to get from one place to another without driving themselves, taking public transportation, or relying on friends and relatives.
Self-driving cars might reduce the need to spend money on building or upgrading mass transit systems and infrastructure. Police officers would not have to spend time monitoring drivers for moving violations and could spend their time fighting crime. There would be fewer insurance claims and injuries requiring medical treatment, which would save money for consumers.
There are also disadvantages to self-driving cars.
The cost of self-driving cars exceeds $100,000 as of 2015, which makes them unaffordable for most people. The high cost is due to the additional necessary sensors, software, engineering, power and computer requirements.
Because self-driving cars rely on computers, there is a concern that hackers could interfere with operations of self-driving cars. In addition, there is a concern that the computers would gather personal information about the vehicle's operators and occupants.
Drivers would require retraining in operating self-driving vehicles so that they know when and how to intervene in the driving when necessary. Heavy rain can interfere with or damage the sensors on the roofs of self-driving vehicles, and self-driving cars would not be able to handle situations that involve interpretation of human signals, such as when someone is directing traffic.
LIMITATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY
A self-driving car relies on accurate GPS, and that technology is not always accurate.
Self-driving cars would eliminate the need for traffic patrol officers and would impact the need for personnel in such areas as mass transit and driver education, possibly having implications regarding job loss.
For self-driving cars to provide all the advantages, all the vehicles on the road would have to be self-driving vehicles. People may resist purchasing these vehicles due to lack of money or for their own personal reasons, reducing the overall advantages of self-driving vehicles.