If elevators, why not Autonomous Vehicles?

        Isn’t it scary to think about the dangers associated with elevators, despite the universal trust that the human race has in them? Why should we trust a box that, with the aid of several pulley systems, transports us from floor to floor without any reliance on human control after it’s designed? Elevators have proven themselves to be reliable pieces of technology; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, elevators contribute to an estimated 27 deaths out of the average 18 billion trips they take per year. This makes the risk of dying per trip 0.00000015%!

        If we can trust elevators, why can’t we trust autonomous vehicles (AV)? AV’s are programmed with sensors on all sides, making them aware of any anomalies on and off the road. AVs also have advanced algorithmic decision-making software to give them the artificial intelligence on when to break, drive extra cautiously, etc. We already trust the car to work on its own in some aspects. Many modern cars have automatic parking settings, as many people don’t feel comfortable parking on their own. Other settings such as “hill-assist”, built-in GPS’s, and even automatic transmission allow technology to make our lives easier in regards to driving. The closest threshold to allowing the car full control is the “cruise” mode. If we give our cars the power to maintain speed without our input, why can’t we trust it to steer and brake too?


        As Courtney Ehrlichman, cofounder of Roadbotics, stated at the roundtable, “It’s not whether AVs are going to make it onto the roads, because that has already become a reality. It is going to happen.” She also mentioned that AVs may have full control over the road by 2040. Time for us to learn to trust AVs for society’s convenience and benefit, don’t you think?

– Kyle Bellhorn


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