How will driverless cars impact automotive culture?

Autonomous cars are on the horizon for drivers all over the world. With the first vehicles already in development it’s clear that driverless vehicles are going to be a part of automotive culture in the near future. This will mark a significant change for many of us but will the driver experience be improved or lessened as a result? There are a number of different ways in which the development of driverless cars could potentially impact on automotive culture.

 

Relationships between drivers

A huge 80% of Britons said they suffered from road rage in 2017. This often originates from the driving habits and behaviours of other road users. However, if it’s artificial intelligence, rather than individual humans, who are responsible for how the vehicle is handled, it’s likely that the number of road rage incidents will drop significantly. In fact, road rage as a problem could even be eliminated completely.

 

The number of accidents

Around two thirds of the fatalities that are linked to traffic accidents are the result of aggressive driving. Driverless cars are automatically operated and don’t involve engagement with human emotions, such as anger. So, deaths and injuries that occur as a result of this type of accident should be eliminated. It’s also hoped that autonomous cars will make for generally safer roads thanks to the superior judgment and decision making abilities of driverless cars, which will all be based on software not mood.

 

Car ownership in general

It’s likely that car ownership is going to be reduced when driverless cars are introduced. This could be as a result of the potential cost of owning an autonomous car. However, a recent study also identified that a subscription-based model of car ownership is likely to become the norm when autonomous cars are in the majority. This would mean that most of us will not own a car but will subscribe to rent one, as and when required. The study found that the level of car ownership in the UK could fall by as much as 80% over the next decade as a result.

 

The necessity of car parks

Currently, we use car parks as somewhere to leave a vehicle while we’re at work or using certain amenities such as restaurants or the cinema. However, when driverless cars become the norm car parks will no longer be necessary. Why? Well because autonomous cars will be able to drive themselves home after transporting passengers from A to B – and to venture out to make pick ups when necessary too.

 

No such thing as drunk or underage driving

Rates of alcohol consumption could well shoot up, as the responsibility of safely navigating the car home is lifted. Plus, driverless cars will mean that anyone of any age can be on the roads – a recent study found parents would be happy to let their children ride in an autonomous car on their own.

 

Security risks will change

Instead of theft being the biggest problem with cars, it could be security. If the operating system of a driverless car is hacked then anyone in it could end up effectively a hostage to whoever takes control.

Driverless cars will mark a big shift in automotive culture, bringing with them a whole range of benefits and a few concerns too.

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