Distracted driving is a hot issue. But when it comes to discussing solutions to the distracted driving problem, many are quick to claim that the autonomous car technology could make a major difference by eliminating distracted driving for good.
But while we do not have a way of checking whether these claims could materialize over time, many critics of the technology revolution spearheaded by Google are saying otherwise.
According to a series of reports, Ralph Nader is one of these critics.
Nader has predicted that the use of the self-driving vehicles will make certain unaddressed problems worse. To the former politician and auto safety advocate, the use of the autonomous car tech could make cars pay even less attention go the road.
Distracted driving, he told reporters, is a serious risk that will be exacerbated because of self-driving cars.
But that’s not the only problem. To Nader, the fact that many consumers and automakers want their vehicles to be entertainment arenas is making things harder and more dangerous. Promoting in-car tech that promises to keep everyone safe, Nader says, is not the way to go. Removing personal responsibility from the driving experience too quickly will make drivers less experienced and less ready to handle issues that arise if he has to operate his or her vehicle on their own.
When the driver loses control to the software, Nader said, “the less the driver is going to be able to control the car” when necessary. These developments could actually worsen road conditions simply because drivers are not paying attention, and therefore are less equipped to deal with the risks.
As Nader criticizes how many tech experts are relying on the self-driving car tech to make roads safer, proponents of the autonomous car systems say that he’s worrying about the wrong things. Self-driving technology like collision-avoidance systems save lives daily in the United States.
If these technologies are perfected and drivers are allowed to leave their worries behind, self-driving technology could, indeed, make roads safer. But until the technology is perfected, Nader’s concerns shouldn’t be ignored.
After all, most companies working on their own self-driving cars say that it could take years for vehicles to be fitted with fully autonomous features. Until then, drivers still have to drive. And when they do, they must focus and make sure they are not distracted by in-car systems while at it.
For more details on his interview, follow this link.