The Self-Driving Car: Why it’s Here to Stay Jul 13, 2016 Auto News SuperUser Account Driving. Something humans have been doing for decades. It gets us where we need to go, but is innovative technology changing the transportation game forever? Self-driving cars, while relatively new in production, can be a solution to many of the problems we face on the road today. With huge companies such as Google investing massively in the success of these cars, it looks like this could well be the future of how we get from point A to point B, for the long road ahead. It’s Safer While it may seem crazy that a car with no driver might actually be safer on the road, it makes a lot of sense. The road is a dangerous place, in fact, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, “nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day”! Those facts are frightening, and with numbers like that, having a safer alternative would be welcomed. Ultimately, the reason a self-driving car would be safer is because humans are more prone to errors than our technological counter parts, thus making it easier to make deadly mistakes on the road. In addition, the more self driving cars there are on the road, the more cars there will be in tuned with each other’s automation, and making accidents less likely also. Google’s self-driving car, which they are naming the Self-Driving Car Project, actually uses technology such as “3D laser-mapping, GPS, and radar” to make sure that those in the passenger seat are kept out of harm’s way. Further, self-driving cars would make transportation convenient and safe for those who are younger, older, or disabled, and may not normally get to drive in a car by themselves. Not to mention dangerous crimes like driving under the influence could be way reduced. This potential for a safer road is just one of the many reasons why a self-driving car could be the way of the future for many citizens. It Frees Up Time Time is precious, and we all know we could use more of it in our day. With the act of driving out of the passenger’s hands, self-driving cars frees up citizens to catch up on their productivity. Think about all the time spent in a car over one’s lifetime, can you imagine if all the minutes, or hours you spent driving were spent doing something more beneficial in the long run? Without the distraction of the wheel, you can catch up on that book, or review your notes before on big exam on the commute. Not to mention the amount of time human beings spend finding a good parking spot, especially at busy shopping centers. Having a self-driving car could do all the parking-spot-finding work for you, and you wouldn’t even need to be in the car! There is always a need for more time! Self-driving cars, if implemented for the public, could be a solution to help make every minute count. A Lot of Money is Being Invested Of course, there’s no way any of the innovations with the self-driving car would’ve been possible without the large investments that have been put into them. The technology in these cars take massive amounts of funds, yet tech and auto companies want to see them succeed so they are willing to put in the money. Google’s Self Driving Car Project seems to be the front runner in the world of self driving cars, seemingly because Google has the revenue to put into this innovative technology. However, there is still a lot of investors putting their money into success of the self driving car. Huge auto companies like General Motors and Toyota are investing massive amounts to make sure that the dream of a self-driving car for all is realized. Even President Obama is interested in spending 4 billion dollars over 10 years to further fund the research for these self-driving cars. With all of the money going into the research and production of the self-driving car, it really does seem like these vehicles will continue to grow in the auto world and emerge into the public sphere. It Has Huge Potential Self-driving cars also have huge potential in the business world due to the fact that you can share the vehicle with others to get where you need to go, something that Google eventually wants to implement with their car. It has the potential to be a car service, and maybe even give taxi and car companies a run for their money. Plus, with the sharing aspect, this goes back to the safety factor in that less cars will be on the road, giving less possibilities for road related accidents. The limits are endless for these cars, they can be for personal use, but also a great alternative service to get around town. It seems the benefits of these self-driving cars are exceptional. While they are still not released for purchase on the market yet, with all of the investment and safety features, not to mention the time you’ll save and the convenience you’ll have, it doesn’t look like the self-driving car will be leaving anytime soon. We can’t wait to see where the future will take these amazing innovations in auto technology.