Varun Mukund, a seventh grader from Texas, submitted this essay in response to our November Your Turn prompt.
Coming in the not-so-distant future are self-driving cars that might as well just take over the entire sector of transportation that we know as the automotive industry.
Self-driving cars have many aspects to them that might be beneficial to humans, but some of them might just be useless right now. The features that help are they might decrease the number of lives lost. The average now is about 162 lives per day. Also, traffic is tremendously increasing, so much that a total of six billion minutes per day are being wasted today in traffic. The reason why self-driving cars are coming into our lives is that they are meant to promote and bring safety to the most people possible, with the people that are in the car as priority.
Self-driving cars, as we know, are being programmed previously by programmers, companies, etc. to avoid certain obstacles in the road. Some of these are huge objects hurtling towards a car, or a bus swerving into the lane without turning on its blinker. The programmers code the cars to make a decision, such as bank right or come to a sudden halt. That is good for us…right? It turns out that human instincts might be better in these situations because the driver is present on the road and can make decisions. Meanwhile, the programmers are not and are thinking of what-if situations. Since the programmer isn’t going to be in these cars, they have to assume every single situation that might happen to a passenger in that car. But, we’re all humans, and we all make mistakes.
Take a situation where a large object is hurtling towards the self-driving car. There is an SUV on the left and a truck on the right, with a car right behind. In this situation, the self-driving car is often programmed to swerve right or left and hit a car. But both of these options go directly against the point of a self-driving car. A regular car has a driver that can think on his or her feet and come up with a solution that will most probably be different than one made by a self-driving car. Most times, a driver-driven car tends to look for a way to save the most people, but the top priority for a self-driving car is to protect the passenger. I would think it is best that regular cars that we use now are still in use, and that self-driving cars aren’t taking over completely.