Driverless cars may be the wave of the future, but would you feel safe in a driverless ambulance? This new technology does have one potential advantage over current emergency vehicles - at the moment a patient in an ambulance gets medical attention only from one paramedic, while the other crew member drives the vehicle, but a driverless ambulance would allow patients to get to the hospital much more quickly and smoothly while receiving care from two medical professionals instead of one.
Overall opinions on self-driving vehicles, in general, seem to split people into two groups, the traditionalist drivers, who like to feel the power of their car and the lazy commuter, who sees driving as a chore. The traditionalists shake their heads in dismay at the thought of the roads being populated not only by self-driving cars but also driverless emergency service vehicles and the lazy commuters who cannot wait for this to be the norm on our UK roads!
It might be some time before driverless cars are the only vehicles on the road, but here are some interesting facts that show the benefits:
- There will be Fewer Accidents
The leading cause of most car accidents is driver error. Alcohol, drugs, speeding, road rage, inexperience, slow reaction time, and ignoring road conditions are all contributing factors. Given some 40 percent of accidents can be traced to the abuse of drugs and or alcohol, self-driving cars would practically eliminate those accidents altogether. This is all great news for pretty much everybody—except of course body shop repair and recovery trucks!!
- Traffic Jams Will be Extinct
One of the leading causes of traffic jams is selfish behaviour among drivers. It has been shown when drivers space out and allow each other to move freely between lanes on the motorway, traffic continues to flow smoothly, regardless of the number of cars on the road. In fact, we have the capability of pretty much-eliminating traffic jams right now. All we’d have to do is allow three to four car lengths of space between our car and the car in front of us, even in slow-moving traffic. The way we drive now, when traffic gets heavy, if someone needs to change lanes to exit the motorway, or if someone needs to enter, everybody has to stop to let it happen because we drive packed so tightly together. And, there’s no other way to say it, we do this out of selfishness. Self-driving cars can be programmed to space out automatically, thereby eliminating the problem.
- No Car Park Rage
So, you arrive at the shopping centre, what’s the first thing you have to do? Drive around and around, looking for a parking space convenient to the entrance you prefer to use. Self-driving cars can be programmed to let you off at the front door of your destination, park themselves, and come back to pick you up when you summon them. Suddenly you’re freed from the mundane task of looking for a parking space because the car can do it all on its own. Plus, it doesn’t really matter how far away that parking space is because you’re not going to be hoofing it to and fro anyway.
- Elimination of Traffic Enforcement Personnel
If every car is “plugged” into the grid and driving itself, then speeding,—along with stop sign and red light running will be eliminated. The cop on the side of the road measuring the speed of traffic for enforcement purposes? Yeah, they’re gone. Cars won’t speed anymore, so why send a police officer out to write speeding tickets? Yes, there will probably still be accidents occasionally, but they’ll be fewer and farther between. This means you can have a minimal contingent of police officers assigned to traffic duties, freeing more of the force up to deal with crime.
- There could be Higher Speed Limits
Since all cars are in communication with one another, and they’re all programmed to maintain a specific interval between one another, and they all know when to expect each other to stop and start, the need to accommodate human reflexes on the highway will be eliminated. Thus, cars can maintain higher average speeds, while sacrificing very little in the way of safety and/or fuel efficiency. This means higher speed limits can be enacted, as the concerns about collisions will be all but eliminated.