To best present my research, I’ll be creating a digital artefact consisting of three podcasts focusing on different aspects of self-driving cars. The topics will include regulation, car culture and the technology needed to run these machines. Regulation will focus on the legislation that is currently put in place across Australia, America and Sweden as well as what needs to be considered in the future. With car culture, I will focus on what changes might happen in the future including the effect on jobs such as taxi drivers, mechanics and even police since there would be no need for RBT’s and the highway patrol when these driverless cars are made to obey the law in every situation. Also, it will be interesting to take note of possible changes in perception between cars and prestige as, in modern times, different models of cars can be a sign of wealth. Finally, I will be looking at the technology behind the self-driving car and the problems that could arise including the possibility of hacking and cyber-terrorism.
For now, I’ll focus on regulation in this post and give a general overview of what legislation is currently in action. In Australia, it seems that South Australia is ahead of the curve having just legalized driverless cars, paving the way for the country to move towards autonomous technology (Tucker, 2016). The state has already conducted self-driving trials with Volvo models late last year and this will allow driverless technology to further develop and help create safer roads – as long as people are willing to change their driving habits.
On the other side of the world in the country of Sweden, self-driving technology is taking a step forward by introducing 100 autonomous cars for willing commuters. Using “specially-picked roads that have no cyclists or pedestrians” (ONE News, 2016), drivers will have the chance to experience what it will feel like to keep their hands off the wheel on their daily routine. So far, the majority of trials have either had a test driver in the vehicle or had no humans in the car making Sweden a definite leader in improving autonomous technology.
With America being the base for Google’s self-driving cars, there has been an ongoing call to create “uniform rules across the country” (Naughton, 2016) since, at the moment, only 23 states have implemented important legislation to oversee their research. Although cautious of the developing technology, many are supporting the roll-out of autonomous vehicles due to the belief that they will help lower collisions on the road. Fatigue, drink driving and distracting factors such as eating and talking on the phone will no longer be an issue in driverless cars and automated vehicles also help improve mobility for the elderly and disabled. With this in mind, the benefits of this technology are worth considering, but their needs to be a nationwide shift to allow self-driving cars to be released for the masses.
It is interesting to see what countries will be the first to take up driverless cars on a mass scale and whether society will reach a point where people no longer drive. At this point, the technology itself has a lot of room for improvement and governments still need to consider what laws will have to change, but the potential for safer driving conditions and the ability to spend your commute doing other tasks makes it well worth the wait.
– Naughton, K. (2016), Driverless car rollout seen stalling without nationwide rules, Bloomberg. Accessed at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-15/uniform-u-s-rules-for-driverless-cars-urged-to-speed-rollout
– ONE News (2016), ‘Eyes of the road’: Driverless car experiment to send a whole new message, TVNZ. Accessed at: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/eyes-off-road-driverless-car-experiment-send-whole-new-message
– Tucker, H. (2016), South Australia has just legalised driverless cars, Business Insider Australia. Accessed at: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/south-australia-has-just-legalised-driverless-cars-2016-4