- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 28 September 2016
- Written by DANIELLE ROMANOWSKI | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
When many of us think about the future of technology, innovation and the year 3000, we paint a picture with cars flying sky high above the ground. But even in the most elaborate visions of future technologies, most people also picture a driver operating those sky-high vehicles. While neither Google nor Uber are trying their hand at creating a flying car, they are coming up with the next best thing – a driverless one.
Uber is currently test-driving self-operating vehicles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and are inviting passengers to come along for the ride. For many, the idea of getting into a car without a licensed driver is worrisome, but others believe this is the next big step for our society and will revolutionize the way we get around. John Morano,a professor of communication, isn’t planning on hopping into a driverless car anytime soon. “I’m not sure I would trust this technology just yet; rather than be a Guiana pig, I’ll stick with driving myself around,” Morano explained. “But when I’m in my 80’s and when this technology isn’t so new, I’ll be thrilled to be in a self-driving car so I can still go places and do things when I can’t drive myself.”
Although the creation of self-driving cars is controversial, there are many benefits for both the passengers and companies taking advantage of this advanced technology. Driverless cars and robots will help to reduce congestion on roadways as the “Domino’s Robotic Unit” operates only on sidewalks and bicycle paths to deliver contents and reach its destination. This four-wheeled robot navigates its way through bustling towns and cities using GPS and lasers, while maintaining a steady speed of twelve miles an hour. This bot is also equipped with cameras to keep vandals and pizza thieves away from stealing its costumer’s food and beverage. Upon arrival, the robotic unit will stop in front of the designated address and wait as the hungry customer enters a four-digit code to gain access to their lunch, dinner or late night snack. Through the use of domino’s pizza bot, we can cut down on the amount of cars on the road and reduce traffic in suburban areas.
There are many additional benefits to self-driving cars like Uber’s autonomous vehicle. Currently, traffic accidents kill 1.3 million people annually, and through the advanced technology of Uber’s self-driving cars, this number could be drastically decreased and many people’s lives could be spared. Distracted driving would be completely eliminated through the use of self-operating vehicles, and would allow for a smoother and safer ride.
On the surface, it seems that self-driving cars would eliminate hundreds of jobs due to the lack of necessity for drivers in this industry. However, with these automatic-driving cars operating 24/7, this will create numerous job opportunities for maintenance mechanics, engineers and technologists. In the same sense that the ATM didn’t kill the bank teller, the autonomous car won’t eliminate taxi drivers either. Reducing traffic and congestion, decreasing accidents and creating jobs are all benefits of both Domino’s Robotic Unit and Uber’s self-operating vehicle.
Although there are clearly benefits of autonomous cars, it is difficult for society to get on board with this type of technology. Shaheen Grajeda, a junior nursing student, is not on board with self-driving technology. “I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable getting into a car that operates by itself,” she explained. “Driving is too circumstantial and there are many factors that go into operating a vehicle safely that I don’t believe can be programed into technology.”
During their testing period, Uber’s self-driving vehicles also require a safety driver to be present in the front seat for human intervention in situations involving bad weather and other unsafe conditions. The necessity for an Uber employee to sit in the front seat “just in case” raises a red flag about the safety of the self-driving cars and the programming of this technology.
Autonomous vehicles and robots are also complicating commonplace, daily occurrences like driving and ordering takeout. Samantha Marella, a senior business student, feels strongly against Domino’s self-driving robots. “I think it’s very unsafe and impersonal because pizza bots wouldn’t be able to walk up to someone’s house and ring the bell, or even operate through apartment complexes,” Marella said. “I think it’s just creating an issue when there is nothing wrong with Domino’s delivery system to begin with.”
Despite the many benefits that self-driving cars and pizza delivering robots possess, there are still many factors that will deter people from both of these services due to safety issues and inconvenience. While the advancement of technology is always a step forward for society, complicating everyday occurrences like driving and delivering pizza should be left out of this technological equation.
IMAGE TAKEN from lifehacker.com
IMAGE TAKEN from businessinsider.com