Editorial: Self Driving Vehicles are the Future

Mallory Gillespie, Reporter

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Nearly 1.25 million people die each year in a completely preventable way. 

Self driving vehicles can provide many health, safety, and societal benefits to roadway users.

According to the Association For Safe International Road Travel, an informational source for drivers, in addition to the fatalities per year due to automobiles, on average there are 3,287 deaths per day. Self driving vehicles have the ability to cut this number to zero.

Self driving cars can be beneficial to all drivers, including the handicapped, disabled, and elderly. They will be able to transport themselves without putting strain on their bodies and minds. This will return the handicapped to some of their previously loved civic activities and responsibilities, limiting some causes of depression by increasing their quality of life.

The versions of self driving cars used today, including those produced by Tesla Motors, have many environmental benefits, considering they are almost always electric. The charging stations that can be used to “refuel” these vehicles can be run by renewable energy sources, like solar power, instead of using gasoline.

Although the electric based self driving cars do not completely remove the energy consumption issues, it will greatly reduce emissions and air pollution that are ruining the environment.

Blue and Green Tomorrow, an environmental support group, said autonomous vehicles are also programmed to operate in a more energy efficient manner. Drivers tend to ride the gas and brakes heavier than necessary, which burns excessive fuel. If these self driving cars are fuel based and not electric, there will be major environmental benefits. Without humans  control in cars, the extra carbon emissions burned off into the atmosphere by unnecessary fuel use is limited.

According to Business Insider, Volvo’s Senior Technical Leader for Safety and Driver Support Technologies, Erik Coelingh, said, “There’s huge, huge potential in making traffic safer than it is today. That is one of the big reasons for us that we entered this field.”

Because of the highly advanced technology and censoring that goes into manufacturing a self driving car, the more autonomous cars on the road, the safer everyday travel will be. Fewer crashes and fender benders mean less roadway backups. This can also lessen the greenhouse gas usage caused by idling.

There are also recreational benefits towards the increase of self driving cars. “You as a driver, you can get back your own time,” Coelingh said, “And you can use it in a better way than just staring at the car in front of you.”