Will Self-Driving Cars Ruin New York Culture?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Will Self-Driving Cars Ruin New York Culture?

Self Driving Cars

With the imminent transition from regular automobiles to self driving cars, many New Yorkers are wondering how this technological development will change their cultural landscape. The question is on the minds of many city dwellers around the world too.

Self driving cars, also known as robotic or autonomous cars, are built to navigate the streets with expert precision without any human input. Using computer vision, odometry, GPS, lidar and radar, self driving cars are able to plot the route to any given destination choosing the most practical navigation path.

No Longer a Question of If, but When?

The self driving car will be on the market by 2019. New York City is renowned for its complicated driving scenarios. The transition from regular automobiles to driverless cars appears imminent, and many New Yorkers are wondering how this technological development will change their cultural landscape.

Compared to the rest of the country, individual car ownership is uncommon in New York City. In other areas of the United States, 92 percent of households own a car, but in certain areas of NYC, like Manhattan, the percentage is as low as 23 percent (with a high of 84 percent in Staten Island). There is even an urban legend that you can't own a car in NYC, thanks to the extreme parking difficulties. This is untrue, of course, but parking is tricky and can cost up to 500 dollars per month.

Life is a Highway, I want my Car to Drive it

It is also notoriously difficult to drive in the snarls of traffic commonly found in New York City. Only the most experienced drivers stand a chance of holding their own in these situations, and more often than not citizens choose to catch a cab to their destinations instead. Considering these difficulties, driverless cars may produce positive results, eliminating the stress of driving and parking in the city.

Safety issues that arise from the self driving car range from the interesting to the outright bizarre. Driverless cars need to decide whether it's more important to protect pedestrians or its own passengers. For example, if the automatic car is on a collision course with a passel of pedestrians, should it sacrifice the driver by veering into a pole or plow into the pedestrians? This creates a social dilemma, where the owner of the car might be sacrificed to benefit the greater good.

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Cars are Out Performing People

Statistics so far seem to favor the driverless car's ability to maintain a high safety standard. The few examples we have paint a positive picture, assuring that self driving cars are responsible for very few accidents. In one point eight million miles, Google's self driving car was only in 13 crashes, all of them harmless fender benders and none of them the fault of the driverless car. Heightened vehicular safety would save lives and save money in property damage. The GPS in self driving cars, using VSAT technology, is more than capable of getting passengers home safe.

While the absence of a driver may create obstacles in determining liability in car accidents, the driverless automobile would greatly increase the comfort and convenience for elderly drivers who have difficulty manually operating a motor vehicle. Robotic cars would also be ideal for intoxicated drivers, who can simply hit the "home" button and relax while they are driven to their domicile, eliminating the danger of alcohol related casualties. Driverless cars could also cause a massive reduction in New York insurance premiums.

Self driving car

The Same New York, Different View

Self driving cars will likely be beneficial to New York City, making the streets safer and providing an extra level of convenience for passengers. There is no evidence that self driving cars will ruin NYC culture. From an aesthetic viewpoint, the city streets may appear a bit more orderly, but that's not a bad thing. New York City culture resides in the architecture of the city, and in the indomitable spirits of the residents. Individual car owners may prefer to navigate their automobiles the old fashioned way, but this preference will likely need to be abandoned to make way for self driving cars, which will be with us in a few short years.

By  Lindsey PattersonEmbed

Author Bio - Lindsey is a freelance writer specializing in business and consumer technology.


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