(10) Social Constraints and Issues Part II

People in general have a mistrust to new technology, especially when it pertains to the individual safety.  Especially when people hear about how a Tesla on auto pilot, got his own in a fatal crash (New York Times). The take away from this, is that the feature in question was auto pilot and it not being autonomous. But they are not wrong to be skeptical of the technology. As the Scientific America describes it, “Autonomous Vehicles Are Still ‘Teen Drivers’” (Scientific America). There should be a high bar, when it comes to the safety of the American people. But not that it would cripple the advancement of autonomous vehicles must offer. There have been multiple companies that integrated an autonomous vehicle program. Looking at Googles Waymo, it shows that close to all the accident that the autonomous vehicle was involved in, were in part by human error. With the level of accuracy that the autonomous vehicle show while they drive, they also show promise in helping lower vehicle pollution.

Autonomous vehicles could contribute to lowering the nations greenhouse gasses. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, transportation is the second largest greenhouse gas contributor (EPA).  The Eno: Center for Transportation wrote an article highlighting some of the way autonomous vehicle increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollution (Eno). The one example is optimizing driving efficiency, by having an adjustment to the amount of gas being throttled. Which has statistically proven to lower emissions as high as sixty percent. The second example, involved the vehicles being in the inner city. Autonomous vehicles could lower the amount of congestion that get build-up in the cities. Where most of the vehicles tend to stop-n-go, which contributes to the pollution. What ties closely to safe driving and gas efficiency, are the potential change to how our driving habits are architecture around.

Although it may seem that some of the aspect that autonomous vehicles, may be futuristic, it may not seem so far off. One of the biggest reason that we have traffic light that tell us what to do, is to help the person driving. But with autonomous vehicle in the rise, the idea of traffic light, might go obsolete. In a video called, “The Simple Solution to Traffic” by CGP Grey goes in depth describing the problem with traffic, humans. By removing the human aspect to driving, it could truly be efficient. Again, even though these ideas may seem far, this is something where autonomous vehicle could be headed.

All these social constraints and issue have a correlation to the salient ethical issue. These are issues contributes to part of the dilemma, because it asked the question if it’s worth having autonomous vehicles on the streets. That would lead to salient ethical issue in question. Therefore, companies are having to do extensive research, by having their vehicle being available in certain cities.



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