Tech Talk: Sleeping Your Way to Work


06/30/2015

When Henry Ford finally finished his first car, or quadricycle, in 1896, do you think he knew how much our modern society would end up relying on them? Just imagine your daily morning routine. After getting the kids ready to go, you shuffle everyone out to the car and then sit in rush hour traffic, gulping down your coffee to try and wake up. Meanwhile, your kids are kicking and screaming in the back seat.

Now imagine a life where rather than suffering through silent road rage and threatening your children with no television for a month if they don't take their noise down at least eight notches, you could take your eyes off the road and interact with them without worry. Road rage is gone. Your morning commute is free for you to catch a few more zzzzz's, work on notes for your first morning meeting, or even hold a conference call.

Nearly every car manufacturer from Audi, to Lexus, to Tesla is engineering and road testing driverless cars. Even Google, who wasn't in the car manufacturing industry, began developing their own autonomous vehicle technology. And while the gold rush to make a car that could revolutionize the way we travel is fully in play, the safety of them is very much in question.

To date, all 11 accidents involving a driverless car were caused by other parties involved in the accident. Audi even unveiled their car by having it drive itself from San Francisco to its unveiling event in Las Vegas, arriving accident free with over 550 miles under the hood.

If they are proven to be a safe way to travel, autonomous vehicles will drastically reduce insurance costs since these vehicles take the responsibility of driving out of the driver’s hands. Basing premiums on age and experience will no longer exist. Some have even gone on to say that many insurance companies will be scaled down dramatically or even disbanded by these lower insurance rates.

Along with reduced insurance costs, these vehicles could also change the lives of millions of individuals who have lost the ability to drive.

Steve Mahan has lost 95% of his vision and because of this, he is unable to drive a car. With the help of Google, Steve was able to use an autonomous vehicle to pick up his dry cleaning and even drive-thru Taco Bell for a burrito.

In addition to Steve, many elderly individuals have also lost the ability to get around town on their own, relying on family members or expensive caretakers to help them run their errands. Autonomous vehicles will enable these people to remain, or become independent again without having to worry about disastrous accidents.

In 2009 there were 10.8 million motor vehicle crashes in the United States alone. And of the 10.8 million, 30,800 were fatal accidents The adoption of autonomous vehicles could cut these numbers drastically.

Getting back valuable free time, saving money, and re-gaining your independence is just the beginning to what autonomous vehicles could do for our society. The sci-fi books and movies of the past when people were being driven around by their cars are about to become a great deal more realistic in the coming years.

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