10 Potential Consequences of Self-Driving Cars
The automobile industry is undergoing major disruption. The rise of electric vehicles and self-driving cars is about to transform our roads.
The government says that by the year 2021, self-driver cars will be on the roads of the UK. The industry is expected to grow from zero to £52 billion by 2035.
However, not everyone is excited about the birth of this new technology. In fact, more than two-fifths of people in the UK say that they are “scared” of the prospect of self-driving vehicles.
From privacy concerns to the cost, there are numerous potential consequences of self-driving vehicles. Let’s check out some below!
1. Alcohol Consumption
Currently, the UK has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the world. Uniquely, women and men drink approximately the same amount per week in the UK.
There are reasons to believe that the rise of self-driving vehicles is only going to increase alcohol consumption.
One of the few times people avoid drinking alcohol altogether is when they have to drive somewhere. Without this as an obstacle to drinking, we can assume people will choose to drink more frequently.
According to one study, the self-driving vehicle technology could result in up to £43 billion in increased sales for the alcohol industry. This is great news for the alcohol industry, but not so great for the health and well-being of Brits.
2. Job Losses
There has been a 22 per cent increase in the number of miles driven by delivery vehicles over the past decade.
This has subsequently created numerous jobs related to Amazon delivery and other small commercial delivery services.
Any worker who drives for a living is under threat by the rise of self-driving vehicles. For example, taxi drivers, lorry drivers, and bus drivers.
3. Worse Crashes
Car crashes are expected to reduce significantly when compared with current rates.
And yet, when car accidents occur with self-driving vehicles, the consequences could be even greater.
It would only require a minor glitch in the computer system for a whole range of vehicles to collide.
4. Moral Dilemma
Many people have highlighted the moral dilemma which self-driving vehicles raise.
Instead of assigning the fault of a car crash to human error or a criminal offence, there is nobody to take responsibility when the driverless cars crash into each other.
Can we blame the passenger? Could it be the fault of the government? What about the manufacturer of the vehicle?
Moreover, what is the right decision to make when the self-driving vehicle is required to make a moral choice?
Drive into a crowd of shoppers or risk the safety of those passengers in the vehicle? Should the car swerve out of the way of animals while risking the passengers inside?
5. Privacy Concerns
For self-driving vehicles to function as part of a network, it would require the sharing of a large amount of data.
This would raise concerns about privacy.
Especially when you consider that people may be able to hack into the vehicle & remove the data without a trace.
6. The End of Radio?
Around 8 in 10 drivers in the UK say that they usually listen to something in car journeys. A lot of time, this is when drivers turn on the radio to listen to the news or hear the latest music hits.
Of course, in-car entertainment has always had to be based on listening rather than watching for obvious reasons.
Therefore, while TV and internet have changed the way we consume media and entertainment, radio has remained strong due to the link with the car.
It could be that the emergence of self-driving cars means the end of radio as we know it.
7. More Time Looking at Screens
Britons now spend more time on tech than they do asleep, according to a recent study. While we sleep for under eight hours on average, we spend over 8 hours per day looking at screens.
The birth of the self-driving car suggests that people are not going to drop their smartphone even when they get in the car now.
Researchers have connected high levels of screen time with a bunch of harmful consequences to health. These include a higher risk of cancer and heart disease.
However, there are also concerns about the breakdown of family and friendship bonds due to the lack of eye-to-eye conversations.
8. Vulnerable to Hackers
Many people have raised concerns about the vulnerability of self-driving vehicles to hackers and terrorists. If the vehicle can be controlled by another party, this could be especially dangerous for the passengers inside.
The UK government have insisted that the cybersecurity standards which they have introduced for self-driving cars are watertight. However, people are understandably worried about mistakes.
At the moment, roughly 80 per cent of UK households own at least one vehicle. Moreover, many people own their own car.
However, the affordability of cars could be about to change. The introduction of self-driving vehicles could become exclusive to the wealthy.
The technology required to run a driverless vehicle is much more expensive than your bog standard vehicle.
This is expected to reduce as self-driving vehicles hit the mainstream. However, there are concerns about the ability of low-wage people to afford the new driverless model.
10. Organ Shortage
Organ donations have reached record levels in the UK over the past few years.
At the moment, a growing number of people are registering as organ donors with the health service. However, by 2020, the organ donation system is transferring from an ‘opt-in’ to an ‘opt-out’ basis.
But did you know that over 20 per cent of organ transplants come from people involved in car accidents.
Self-driving vehicles are expected to reduce traffic collision fatalities by up to 75 per cent. Therefore, there will be fewer viable organs donated.
The 10 ‘not so obvious’ and ‘possible consequences’ of Self-Driving Vehicles
We always hear about the benefits of self-driving vehicles. However, people are understandably worried about how they are going to change our lives.
From organ shortage to increased alcohol consumption, there are numerous misgivings that may arise as more self-driving vehicles appear on the UK roads. Only time will tell which ones come to fruition and which are unmerited.
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