Driving With...No Hands?

Why driverless cars are the future of driving

What are self-driving cars?

Imagine, having a car that drive's you anywhere. You might be thinking, "My car can already go wherever I want to go". What I'm telling you to imagine is having a car that literally can drive itself, kinda like a transformer. A self-driving car. Yes, they exist. With self-driving cars, you don't have to waste time commuting. Time that you can use getting work done, or sleeping; whatever you want. Visually impaired and the aging could get around without relying on someone else to drive them everywhere. (1)
A Ride in the Google Self Driving Car

Are they safe?

The question that everyone is asking, "Will they kill me?". Well actually, self-driving cars are safer than human drivers. 94% of accidents in the U.S. happen because of human error. (1) There are over 1.2 million deaths from traffic accidents every year. With self-driving cars, that number could be reduced by a huge amount. Although the goal is to make them safer, they still have a lot of work to do before they can take the crown.

Are they available to test?

It's tough to get chosen to be a Google test driver for their self-driving cars. The best way to have a chance is to be the friend of someone who's already tested it before. (6) Google is looking for social, smart, and observing people that are amazing drivers. So, if you think you are all of these things, go hit up Google!

Testing autonomous cars

Self-driving cars are currently being tested, but they still need a lot of help. According to Google, it's cars still need human assistance 341 times over 424,000 miles. (4) In 11 of these 341 times, Google says its cars would have gotten in a crash. Google also reported 272 instances where the software or the sensors failed due to the cars not being able to see traffic lights or yielding to pedestrians. (4)

Some more benefits

There are so many benefits of having an autonomous car. Here are just a few more. First of all, anybody could drive them. This includes senior citizens, fatigued drivers, visually-impaired or other impaired, and children. (8) Another one that really excites me is not having to look for parking. You can have your car drop you off, and then it would park far away. It would just pick you up whenever you are ready. Finally, you could actually multitask while driving. Okay, if you do this already, then you should stop. But, if you're in an autonomous car, you are free to do whatever you want while the car is driving you.

Some autonomous car history

Google has been working on their self-driving cars since 2009, but the vision of autonomous cars goes way back. (5) At the 1939 New York World's Fair, visitors were presented with the dream of automated highways. From the mid 2000s, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) arranged Grand Challenges in which teams gathered to compete against autonomous vehicles. (5) Google started it's self-driving car project in 2009. (5)