The driverless fleet approaches
By 2020, several automakers (including newcomer Apple) hope to have the first self-driving vehicles on the road. Sure, the thought of your car driving on its own, without any human intervention, may seem a bit scary.
But there are countless benefits that self-driving vehicles will provide. Self-driving cars will give you more time to get things done, make the roads safer and could even help the elderly get to their destinations safely. We've compiled a list of the top seven ways that self-driving vehicles will easily make you want one right now.
Fewer accidents, more saved lives
Since self-driving vehicles will use radar sensors and cameras to take over the controls, there will inevitably be less human error. Most accidents that occur today are caused by some sort of human error, ranging from speeding, slow reaction times and even driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If humans are taken out of the equation, the number of accidents will drop substantially. In fact, Google reports that, as of July 2015, all of the incidents involving its self-driving test cars have been the result of human error.
Less congestion, period
Anyone that has driven through cities like New York and Los Angeles knows how painful it can be to commute. In normal driving, it's best to stay two to three car lengths behind a vehicle in front of you to allow for extra braking room if the driver in front of you slams on his brakes suddenly.
Today, it takes more space for vehicles to drive, increasing the amount of congestion and traffic. Since self-driving cars constantly monitor the road conditions, the vehicles can drive a bit closer behind one another on the road.
Also, if every "connected" self-driving car is driving the same speed down the same road, that means less last minute braking, which is one of the main causes of traffic today. Driverless cars are all about efficiency, something that your commute sorely needs.
Parallel parking will be a breeze
If a self-driving car can drive itself down the road, then it can surely park itself as well – newer "dumb" cars can already do this. The times of getting frustrated at your lack of parallel parking abilities will be over, since your car will just do it for you.
Even trying to fit into a tiny parking spot at the mall will be easier, since you can just get out before your car parks itself in the spot. Imagine a pristine parking lot filled with scratch-free, self driving cars – door dings will be gone forever.
Truck drivers finally get a break
Truck drivers spend countless hours behind the wheel, transporting goods all over the country. Perhaps more so than any other driver, truck drivers are at the highest risk for falling asleep at the wheel.
Mercedes-Benz recently revealed a self-driving truck concept that is one of the first applications of the self-driving technology to cargo vehicles. Wouldn't Walmart love even a squad of these in its fleet?
In Mercedes's concept, the driver can easily take a break to catch up on email or even just to take his or her eyes off the road while the truck continues driving. That said, it's easy to imagine a future in which truck driving is 100% autonomous.
More time for You
Today, we spend countless hours commuting to work doing little else. During the trip to and from work, the only thing you can do is sit there and make sure that you don't hit the car in front of you (and listen to your favorite songs or podcast).
Self-driving cars will change this almost instantly. Since you won't have to actually drive your car, you can just sit back and catch up on some work that you might be behind on or read a book. Heck, you could even catch a quick nap. Driverless cars will give back precious hours that we spend on a daily basis just … sitting there.
You'll save gas
Many of the self-driving car concepts that we've seen have been electric cars, but it's doubtful that every self-driving car will be that green. For the self-driving cars that still use gasoline or diesel fuel, the technology will still help improve fuel consumption through efficiency.
It's widely known that speeding and braking last minute will kill your gas mileage. If the self-driving car is doing all the work, it will be able to better accurately predict braking times and regulate driving speeds. This thereby could see a improvement in gas mileage for driverless cars when up against their analog counterparts.
Increased mobility for the elderly or disabled
As we get older, our ability to see correctly dwindles, which makes driving very dangerous for the elderly. Older drivers also have slower reaction times (both of which are cited in this 1994 report).
Since self-driving cars will take over the driving duties, they will offer a new way for older drivers to get around – safer. This also will help disabled drivers who, up until now, may have had to rely on other, less convenient methods to get around.