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Would you Trust a Self Driving Car?

Would you trust a computer to drive you to work every morning? How about taking yourself and your family to the mall at weekends?
Self-driving cars may have seemed like a distant dream in 2002’s sci-fi hit Minority Report: we all marveled at the clean, well-organized highways as Tom Cruise let his neat little vehicle do all the work, in that utopian metropolis. But it’s far beyond the stuff of fantasy now.

The Future is Here

In 2018, self-driving cars were cleared for tests on public roads in California, giving manufacturers the right to run their high-end vehicles with more freedom than ever before. It’s not quite at Minority Report’s level yet, though: these tests must allow for a remote operator to take control should there be any problems.
Even so, the prospect of seeing a car pass by your own without a driver at the wheel may seem utterly alien — and frightening. Roads often feel overcrowded and chaotic at the best of times, even with qualified, experienced drivers in control of their own vehicles.
Trusting a piece of cutting-edge tech to steer properly, pull emergency brakes, change lanes safely and generally get its passengers to a destination without incident seems like a big leap.
However, we’re all so used to technology playing a key part in our lives, the transition will feel natural to some of us. For example, when cell phones started to take off in the late 90s / early 2000s, it was a staggering change: we could not only contact people at any time, any place without a landline, but we could send text messages too.
Now, it’s hard to imagine a time before these little luxuries. And our smartphones are nothing like those early models: we can watch movies, read books, play high-end games, chat with people across the globe face-to-face via video apps and more.
We take all this for granted now, but there was a time when the tools we depend on every single day seemed impossible.
And let’s not forget other incredible technology like GPS or voice directions. Once, drivers relied on paper maps to get them from A to B, though they were often incomprehensible without close inspection. In many cases, you would have to pull over and plot your route carefully to reduce the risk of wrong turns.
GPS devices like TomTom came along and changed all that. You just set it up, input your destination and follow the directions. Even those of us with terrible navigation skills and a shameful sense of geography could explore without restraint.
The fear of getting lost or venturing into dangerous territory was decreased dramatically, though we all heard stories of people driving themselves into ditches because they put a little
too much trust in the device.
Most smartphones come with GPS and navigation aids as standard today. Numerous apps are available, designed to provide you with in-depth directional assistance all over the world without any extra expense.

Adapting to Self-driving Cars

Over time, all technology becomes part and parcel of everyday life. And someday, people will feel just as dependent and comfortable with self-driving cars. Actually having to stay alert at all times, rely on your instincts and judgment, will seem unthinkable.
The main concern people have at the moment, though, is safety. Driving demands attention to your surroundings, an awareness of negotiating traffic and respect for others. Humans are prone to anger, exhaustion and distractions, but AI could still experience glitches — with potentially devastating consequences.
Obviously, companies behind self-driving cars (Google, Tesla etc.) have tremendous amounts of money at stake. This means it’s vital they invest time, resources and — yes — bucketloads of cash to ensure their products are as safe as possible for mainstream consumers.
Ironing out every possible crease is essential to ensure they receive all the green lights they need to make them market-ready. That alone should appease many doubts. But let’s keep one thing in mind: self-driving cars will be beyond millions of buyers’ budgets.
Thousands upon thousands of vehicles on America’s roads will still be driven by humans, and human error will still be a factor. Driving codes, traffic lights, traffic cops, professional towing services — none of these will be going anywhere soon.
This should be comforting enough for anyone frightened of taking human drivers out of the equation.