Thursday 6 May 2021
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Self-driving cars and the need for progressive laws

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 10.24.20 AMTechnology has been at the forefront of innovation, shaping the world that is easier, safer and convenient for everyone.
Amidst many technological inventions, we are seeing the emergence of driverless cars, which are proving to be a better alternative to human driven cars. In this article I highlight the importance of self-driving (autonomous) cars and how they can be used as a tool to combat accidents on our roads.

Furthermore, I explain the role of policies and regulations in advancing technologies such as self-driving cars. Cars today have become more than just mere objects that take people from point A to point B, they have become smart, equipped with multiple sensors enabling them to sense their environments. Thus, easily detect other objects in their surroundings such as road markings, cars, trees and alike.

The first car to show this ability can be dated as far as the 1920’s, Firebird II by General motors, which had abilities move into a lane with a metal conductor and follow it all along. Moreover, over the years we have seen enormous amounts of money being invested in self-driving cars by companies such as Google and Tesla. This has made autonomous cars a reality and proliferated the uptake of self-driving cars. However, despite the growing interest in self-driving cars, laws in some countries such as Germany and others ban the use of self-driving cars. These is because of the law which requires every vehicle on the road to have a driver behind the wheel who should poses a driving license.

In the United States of America, four (4) states have been proactive and progressive, thus, passed bills to allow the use self-driving cars. Additionally, about ten (15) other states are considering legalising self-driving cars.  It’s not only about potentially reducing traffic congestions and accidents on our roads, autonomous cars are believed to offer other benefits such as reliving those travellers from doing chores while driving. Therefore, allowing travellers to spend most of their time doing business or leisure. Self-driving cars will enable those who are blind, old or disabled to own cars and freely move around. Self-driving cars will also drastically reduce deaths from road accidents.

Since the existence of self-driving cars, there has only been one fatal crash. Moreover, statistics all shows that in 13 of the 14 minor crashes involving Google’s autonomous cars, is either the cars were driven manually or the driver of the other car was at fault. This is a clear indication of how efficient and effective a computer can be behind the wheel.  However, like other computer scientists I admit, autopilot is not perfect, it will get better with time. Therefore, we still need a driver to be aware at all times for now.

Today self-driving cars are not perfect, at the exponential rate at which technology is taking place. Self-driving cars are becoming more and more inevitable. Ultimately, like the Internet, the advancement of technology will continue to shape how policies progresses to handle the disruption that comes with autonomous cars. As envisioned by Google autonomous cars will become the norm and will be adopted world over. Cars will be again the best mode of transport to safely move from point A to point B, even safer then planes. Therefore, legislation and government regulation becomes necessary and inevitable in the coming years as autonomous cars becomes mainstream mode of transport on our roads.

As a country we should not resist the technological advancement, we should be proactive and come up with laws that will enable us to regulate but not control autonomous cars. Thus, ensure that self-driving cars deliver on its promise of making our roads safer and ensuring the blind, aging and disabled will not give up on their independence.

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