Making the Case for Autonomous Vehicles


Many people fear a future where everything is automated, especially those who jobs could be taken over by robots.  But automation can also be very beneficial, especially for motorists. Imagine not having to deal with horrendous traffic anymore? Or having to step out of a virtually accident-free road?

Car makers are working double time to make the idea of an autonomous or self-driving car a reality. While they’re still in their research labs, let’s imagine how self-driving cars will change the way you live. Here are four often-mentioned scenarios about a world dominated by self-driving vehicles:

  1. Our roads will be safer.

The World Health Organization says more than 1.2 million people die every year due to car crashes. Worse, it predicts that the number will hit 2.2 million by the year 2030.  In the United States, around 33,000 individuals get killed due to traffic-related accidents.

But in a world of driverless cars, those accidents will be significantly reduced, if not totally eliminated.  A study conducted by the Eno Centre for Transportation cites that the number of deaths due to car crashes will fall to 11,300 if 90% of cars on the roads were autonomous.

  1. There will be less traffic.

Here’s another reason to look forward to a world of self-driving cars— there will less traffic on the roads.  In the United States, the average person spends about 50 hours being stuck in traffic according to the 2015 Traffic Scorecard. This means the entire US population is stuck in traffic for 8 billion hours in a year.

But with self-driving cars, traffic congestion will be reduced.  Smart cars will be able to communicate with each other, resulting in traffic that flows more smoothly. Following distance will be decreased as well. Traffic lights can also ease congestion because green lights can be shown longer on streets where there’s more volume of vehicles.

  1. You’ll have more time for yourself.

In the US, drivers spend nearly 50 hours of their time a year sitting through traffic. UK drivers are a bit fortunate as they only have to spend 40 hours a year being idle in their cars.

But once roads become dominated by self-driving cars, people will get more time for themselves. Research firm McKinsey says that the average commuter will be able to get as much as 50 minutes a day when automated cars go mainstream.

  1. You will become more productive.

With more time in your hands, you will be able to become more productive. McKinsey says that the total time saved by commuters around the world could add to about one billion hours.

One study by Morgan Stanley predicts that autonomous vehicles can make Americans generate up to $507 million annually because they have more time to work.

And if we take into consideration savings on gas and accident avoidance, the US will have up to $1.3 trillion in savings brought about by autonomous vehicles.

A world with autonomous vehicles doesn’t sound that bad, right?