As a civilisation, we have not taken on board the implications of the coming revolution in self-driving cars. Auto manufacturers, technology companies including Google, and legislators predict that by 2020, self-driving cars will be navigating public roads in countries such as the US, UK and Finland.
Most autonomous vehicles will not be owned by individuals but by companies, then rented out to travellers by the hour. Self-driving is heralded as a way of improving traffic flows and decreasing road accidents. But what about the secondary effects of autonomous cars on public transport, the property market and health?
As with most techno-disruptions, opinion is divided into the utopian and dystopian. Let’s look at the upsides
- Removing fallible, emotional, inattentive humans from behind the steering wheel, where they really have no place, could free up ambulances and hospital accident and emergency departments.