Autonomous Cars Face Hurdles On Way To Social Acceptability

Posted on May 30, 2012

Autonomous vehicles have been all over the news recently, and this blog is itself no exception.  But a new article takes a look at some of the interesting hurdles that must be overcome before such technology becomes commonplace.

The writer of the article points to social acceptance as being one of the biggest challenges that self-driving cars will face.  Once drivers start to see cars driving themselves along the road, even if a human is in the driver’s seat, a general sense of bewilderment is going to overtake even the most cynical of drivers.  And that bewilderment extends to drivers themselves.  Years of driving our own vehicles could leave us unaccustomed to our steering wheel moving of its own accord around corners at speeds that could be deadly if a wreck occurs.

Then there’s the problem that might take shape if people become too reliant on the technology, to the point where they’re not ready to step in should something go wrong.  Even airplanes have pilots should the auto-pilot fail, and there are worries that an inebriated or sleeping person will put too much trust in their car.

The article also brings up the seemingly inevitable occurrence of a wreck involving such a vehicle, which could cause a road bump, so to speak, as the cars struggle to gain widespread acceptance.  The author also brings up an interesting theory that drivers could have disdain for such vehicles the way we can’t stand a phone going off in a movie theater.  To that end, one solution proffered is a lane, similar to a car pool lane, that would just be for self driving cars.

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