BY JULIA WINTON
A&E / OPINION COPY EDIOTR
Due to new technology, fully autonomous cars allow people to complete other activities while they are driving, such as texting. Different cars have several levels of how automated they are; zero being the lowest and five the highest. However, besides the beneficial part of the technology, such as texting or making a phone call while driving, there are plenty of dangers and drawbacks to self-driving cars.
One of the numerous dangers of self-driving cars are accidents. The autonomous technology used to make these cars self-drive is by using cameras to acknowledge the painted lines on the road, traffic signs and other surrounding vehicles. However, if the lines appear distorted for reasons, such as heavy downpour or a bicyclist in the middle of the road, the car will not know how to react and it will start swerving and possibly cause a fatal accident. Also, roads are not specifically made for self-driving cars, so the cars will have to learn to adapt.
Another danger people face because of these technologically advanced cars is they can be hacked just as easily as any other device, such as one’s computer or phone. Hackers can effortlessly take control of the vehicle and use it as a weapon for a terrorist attack or to gather your personal information. This is not only compromising the safety of the driver and passengers, but also others on the road. Since the car is essentially one massive computer, it is extremely possible for the software to malfunction or experience some unexpected glitch.
Self-driving cars can increase one’s exposure to electromagnetic field radiation, which can significantly impact the driver’s health in a negative way, such as causing migraines, chronic exhaustion and susceptibility to infection. However, using protective bands or blankets is said to help lessen the driver’s exposure to radiation while in the automobile.
A fully autonomous car is recognized as a level four on the scale of autonomy. This means these cars have people behind the wheels, but they operate autonomously in all conditions and there is absolutely no need for people in the car to take any action. This information may create lazier people and give drivers a false sense of security because it may make them feel safer in their car and as though they do not have to pay attention to the road. According to The Guardian, a Tesla car was stopped in the center of a five-lane highway outside San Francisco and cops found a man asleep at the wheel. The driver’s excuse was that his vehicle was in autopilot mode. This incident was ultimately the driver’s fault; however, the idea of a self-driving car gave him a false sense of safety.
A car cannot make its own judgements on the road or control most of its actions, as what the car does is solely based off of its programming. Fully autonomous cars may have their minimal benefits, but are these benefits really worth someone’s life? The dangers completely outweigh the benefits of fully autonomous cars; therefore, self-driving cars should be removed from the roads.