Dylan Hong

December 8, 2017

Is It Time To Accept The Future?

Volvo has recently published a webpage titled “If all cars were autonomous”. This is a fantastic and detailed article that highlights 12 main benefits of self-driving cars, all under the categories of economy, society, and environment. It’s an excellent go-to webpage for anybody who might be asking, “I’m hearing a lot about self-driving cars, but what benefits will they have?” While companies like Uber are very forwardly trying to earn consumers’ trust, Volvo is simply putting out information on the benefits of autonomous cars. I suspect that there are plenty of people out there who are not naturally distrustful of self-driving cars, but they also might not understand all of their benefits. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. So it’s time for us all to educate and be educated.

Additionally, Alphabet is making great strides in the space of consumer education as they officially published a 48-page safety report through their company, Waymo. This pamphlet goes in-depth to describe how their cars work, what they’re capable of, how they will interact with people, and their testing regimens. This will be extremely helpful moving forward for lawmakers and the general public as a reference document. With major self-driving car companies building out their information transparency, we could be getting closer to universal standards and thresholds for the abilities and decisions of self-driving cars.

Because of this trend toward education, it makes me happy to see more headlines like “Are those 80,000 pound trucks tailgating each other? Soon it may be perfectly normal — and safe”. This is in heavy contrast to the more controversial headlines that we’ve been seeing about the cars. Instead, this article looks to prepare people about what they will be seeing in the future and why it’s okay. It also educates readers on the benefits of things like slipstreaming and platooning. The article avoids spreading misconceptions in the title with the tagline of “Soon it may be perfectly normal – and safe.” It’s as if the author was saying, “Hey I know this might seem crazy, but here is why the technology is actually really great!” From a legislative standpoint, it’s helpful to have the general public understand the actual pros and cons of the technology and how it will affect daily life.

The development of self-driving car technology has gotten to the point of inevitability. There will be a day when self-driving cars are the norm on our roads. Because of the many benefits that this will bring, the companies making this technology want to be able to ship their products as soon as possible. Autonomous vehicle education will soon be widespread through marketing campaigns. For the legislative allowance of self-driving cars, the general public has to understand what they are, what they do, and why they do it. Hopefully, the foresight on the part of companies pushing this education lead to safer and more efficient roads sooner rather than later. The future is already set, it’s now just a matter of accepting.

https://www.volvocars.com/en-om/about/our-innovation-brands/intellisafe/intellisafe-autopilot/changing-the-world/if-all-cars-were-autonomous https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/are-those-80000-pound-trucks-tailgating-each-other-soon-it-may-be-perfectly-normal–and-safe/2017/10/22/fbbbb0fa-a2de-11e7-b14f-f41773cd5a14_story.html?utm_term=.aac78a82c97f https://storage.googleapis.com/sdc-prod/v1/safety-report/waymo-safety-report-2017-10.pdf
Dylan Hong
Human Factors Engineering