We are getting into a new age: one of the driverless cars. Perhaps the most appropriate way of describing this new type of cars is to call them self-driving cars rather than a driverless car for a computer drives them.
Regardless of the name that we give to it, it is becoming clear that this new technology is set to take us by a storm. Going by recent developments, a fellowship of high-tech firms and traditional automakers has been working hard to put the first driverless cars on the streets.
Google has been making a series of tests on its version of a self-driving car in a bid to beat competition from the likes of Tesla and even Apple, who are equally endowed technologically and financially.
Recently, Uber got into a controversy with the authorities in San Francisco after it started testing its self-driving cars on the streets of the city. The San Francisco authorities demanded that the company stops its tests immediately, citing that it had not acquired the required permits to run such a test.
Later, Uber was forced to stop the tests after a video emerged of one of its self-driving cars ignoring the red street lights and dangerously accelerating.
Depending on how we look at it, the coming revolution is set to be beneficial in several ways. One of the strongest selling points of the companies behind driverless cars is that the cars provide a solution to the problem of the pollution that the typical diesel-powered cars have created.
It is an open secret that the driverless cars are smaller and more efficient than the conventional cars. It is also clear that the new driverless cars will solve the problem of environmental pollution that the conventional cars have created over the decades.
Another potential benefit, which we should expect from using driverless cars, is related to how they are set to revolutionise the manner in which we move every day. The new cars are likely to render the need for everyone to own cars pointless. At the personal level, individuals are likely to find it beneficial only to hire small driverless cars whenever they need to move rather than investing thousands of dollars in buying and maintaining a car.
Then there is the small issue of helping people move more conveniently than it is the case now. Compared to their current conventional counterparts, driverless cars are going to occupy less space in the streets and move more efficiently. We are likely to witness cleaner streets and less noise as a result of the rise of driverless cars soon.
But then there is the not-so-small issue of jobs that is related to driverless cars. Currently, millions of individuals are employed in the transport industry as drivers. As driverless cars take over, these millions are likely to lose their jobs gradually over the coming few decades. It remains to be seen how this disruption shall be handled best.
Also, the rise of driverless cars is likely to disrupt other aspects of the transport sector as we know it now. No one knows what will happen to the rail system as driverless cars slowly take over. What is certain is that public buses and minibuses will be replaced by new, small and more efficient driverless cars as time goes by.