10 Ways Self-Driving Cars Could Make Commuting Easier
Self-driving cars seem to be getting closer and closer to a reality, as the recent change in the law to allow self-driving cars in Nevada proves.
But what benefits could the self driving car bring if you’re on your way to work, or even driving to a holiday?
Well, we thought we’d answer that question.
- You can work before you get to work – a survey conducted this week showed that more than 70% of employers don’t mind if their employees are late, because thanks to smart phones, tablets and laptops, the majority of commuting workers can start work before they even arrive at the office. So not only can you get up later and roll into work at whatever hour you want, you can get most of the boring tasks out of the way in the car.
- Breakfast, the most important meal of the day – figures suggest that 90% of people believe breakfast is important, but pretty staggering 51% of people skip breakfast every day. Well, if your car drives to work, you could have sandwiches, tea, toast, coffee, fruit salad, caviar… Anything, so long as it’s not alcohol. (The law still means that a ‘driver’ has to be in the driver’s seat in case of an emergency, and that they should not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Caviar is fine.)
- You can take a nap – while the law is still a little fuzzy when talking about napping in the driver’s seat of an autonomous car, technically, there is nothing stopping you. But for many, trusting your life to a car is still a little difficult, as instinct says “this car is out of control – I need to grab the wheel”.
- Fuel saving – it is possible, though still unlikely as the human brain is the most advanced computer in the world, that you could save fuel, as software could make the car drive better. Figures show that you can burn 30% more fuel just by driving without thinking ahead, and alternating between the brake and accelerator to keep a constant speed, rather than just having a steady foot. So a steady-foot computer could save you money.
- Safety first – Again, this is up for debate, but arguably the host of censors and radars on self-driving cars could ‘see’ accidents before they happen. Also, because it would be necessary for these cars to ‘talk’ to each other, they would know if they were on a collision course, and make changes to the steering input and brakes/throttle appropriately.
- Quality time – if you were late home one night and missed the opportunity to see members of your family, you could now enjoy quality time with them in the car. Because you wouldn’t have to put all your attention on the road, you could turn round, make them coffee and play games of chess. Spiffing.
- Safety (again) – for those that still decide to drink and drive, they would no longer be driving, merely in the driver’s seat. And, an autonomous car could have sensors and other pieces of equipment to ‘smell’ the air and, in general, make sure that the one with the keys hasn’t had too much sherry trifle.
- Consistency is key – for those interested in racing (that is the vast majority of people reading this) then a car that could produce consistent times forever is very interesting idea indeed. Hopefully, these cars wouldn’t actually make it to races, but for testing which components fail first on an endurance car, or what changes to the car’s setup are actually improving performance, self-driving cars could be very useful indeed. But what about commuting? Well, a self driving car could pick up employees of a company in groups, not only reducing fuel bills but, again, making the car a place of work and discussion.
- Public transport – bus drivers are given quite a lot of abuse by drunkards but also by cyclists and other road users. But what if there was a driver who drove safely and consistently on a pre-determined route? Tests have already begun to make an autonomous bus a real possibility, so if your self-driving car broke down, you could hop on the bus.
- Boredom – it’s a strange idea to car fans, but there are actually people who don’t care about driving, and for those people, a self driving car (a taxi, effectively) would make life easier and much more enjoyable.