Technology Essay Sample: Driverless Vehicles

3 pages
571 words
Harvey Mudd College
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The transport industry has over the last decade, seen a myriad of changes and innovative implementations that are paving way for driverless vehicles. The fundamental alterations, evident in luxury vehicles include automated cruise control, as well as lane keeping assistance, that keep the pressure off the driver. Others include the addition of GPS ensure that the driver can focus on other activities in the process of commuting. Regardless of the potential for implementation, the automated vehicles are yet to become a component of mainstream transportation considering the drawbacks that come with such changes. Because of the disadvantages, the relevant stakeholders in the industry require strategic measures that will ensure that the society as well as the economy receives full benefits in the transition process. Change is inevitable and technological advances may have benefits that outweigh the drawbacks, however, the society cannot ignore the drawbacks especially if they have economic implications to its members.

Prior to the implementation of a new technology, research has to ensure that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. In the case of driverless vehicles, the benefits improve the quality of life while increasing life expectancy for the users. The primary benefit constitutes a look into the economic cost of road accidents. In the United States, the burden stands at US$277 billion with fatalities of 32, 999 individuals in 2010. Most of the accidents result from human error on the road, a disadvantage that the driverless vehicles will counter by reducing the number and severity of the accidents.

Moreover, the technology omits the need for driver wages and parking costs. The omission alongside shared car use will improve traffic flow while minimising congestion. The outcome will be a reduction in the number of hours individuals spend commuting. The driverless vehicles also have a capacity to predict changes in traffic and adjust accordingly. The prediction and resultant alteration of routes have the economic benefit of optimal energy use. With smooth acceleration, the vehicles will also have low emissions. Finally, the users will spend their commuting time driving or doing leisurely activities as opposed to the act of driving and watching the road.

The foundation of all the drawbacks is the replacement of human labour with computers. The outcome of automation is a society that depends on services rather than labour. The impact of automation will therefore include loss of jobs for individuals whose current employment is unskilled driving. With the population in unskilled driving being three percent of the US workforce, the implication is far reaching in the labour industry. Particularly since the US nation and the world is suffering from the impacts of various economic recessions that result in loss of employment. In addition, initiating users into the use of automated vehicles will be a challenge coupled with placing their fate in the hand of a machine. For this reason, the technology requires massive testing to ensure that the transition is flawless.

Change is inevitable and technological advances may have benefits that outweigh the drawbacks, however, the society cannot ignore the drawbacks especially if they have economic implications to its members. With the primary drawback in technological advancement being replacement of human labour with machines, it is important to devise effective control mechanisms. The individuals in the driving occupation will either require training or alternative source of livelihood for them to accept the technology. In addition, members of the society will benefit from information on the application and benefits of the technology.

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