A social desire for self-driving vehicles is nothing new. In the 1950s, a General Motors commercial predicted that by the 1970s, all vehicles would be self-driven. While that did not happen, technology that permits vehicles to drive without a driver’s input is already here. Self-driving vehicles have a number of benefits, such as eliminating incompetent or distracted drivers.
Benefits Of Self-Driving Vehicles
Self-driving vehicles have a number of benefits for institutions that provide mass transit services.
First, institutions will not need to pay a driver to operate the vehicle. When spread over a fleet of taxicabs or busses, this savings can amount to millions of dollars every year. This savings will permit the business flexibility to expand, grow, or simply distribute the earnings to the shareholders. This cost does not merely encompass the employees’ salary. Employees are also expensive to hire in terms of benefits and regulatory compliance costs. By eliminating these costs, businesses can save on overhead and taxes as well as employees.
Second, reliable technology can eliminate human error. According to a Manhattan accident lawyer, most automobile accidents occur due to human error. Humans are imperfect beings, and tired or impaired employees can have reduced reaction times and motor control. In contrast, technology is constant and reliable. Computers never get distracted, call in sick, or become intoxicated. Increasing the safety of the passengers can reduce exposure to liability in the event of a collision, as there will be no employee records to attack.
Problems With Self-Driving Vehicles
Self driving vehicles are not perfect.
First, reliable self-driving technology is expensive. Having a vehicle outfitted with the systems necessary to operate without a driver can cost far more than years of the drivers’ salaries. Less advanced or poorly designed systems can be unreliable and cause harm to other drivers. To address this issue, the technology must be vetted through thorough trial runs before being deployed on a fleet of commercial vehicles.
Second, transit companies are businesses like any other, and those businesses must control shrinkage. With no occupant to monitor passengers, vehicles can be exposed to vandalism or theft. Disappearing panels, wiring, and seats can increase the cost of operating the vehicle. To resolve this issue, operators may consider hiring a single employee to monitor many vehicles. This will still be less expensive than having many drivers monitor each vehicle.
Finally, not all vehicles will be self-driving. Human operators can usually detect when another driver is about to make a sharp turn or brake abruptly based upon the driver’s movements and the vehicle demonstrating subtle changes in speed or in lane position. An alert driver can respond accordingly and prevent an accident before it happens. Technology may be able to determine the distances and speeds of other obstructions on the road, but accounting for other human error is exclusively in the realm of other humans.
Despite these concerns, reliable self-driving vehicles are already here. In recent months, Google has logged over 300,000 miles in its driverless cars without incident. As the technology becomes less expensive, it will see widespread use in mass transit as a cost reduction measure.
Chris Bennett is an automotive enthusiast and contributing writer for a Manhattan accident lawyer. Victims of a car accident deserve compensation for all the damages whether caused by a negligent driver or a self-driven vehicle. By giving a few simple details about your accident, this Manhattan Accident Lawyer site can arrange for a consultation with a competent attorney to represent your case.
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