There is a whole lot of buzz about autonomous cars and electric vehicles nowadays. There are a lot of car and tech companies like Ford, Google, Apple, etc. which are trying to bring these cars to life.
There is a good reason for this too. Humans are terrible at driving. We text, drink, snooze, tweet, eat, etc. behind the wheel of moving vehicles. More than 30,000 people die every year in automobile accidents in the US alone. Traffic crashes are the main cause of death in people aged 15-24. Human error is a very scary thing when at high speeds and visionaries for futuristic cars are trying to get rid of this altogether.
Autonomous cars can take care of the driving for you which means even people with disabilities will be able to enjoy the independence that comes with owning a car. The advantages go beyond cutting down accidents and increasing accessibility too. It will be much better for the environment as well. Autonomous cars are usually powered by electricity instead of gasoline. They are cleaner as compared to regular cars and they will keep getting cleaner as time goes on. This means reduced use of oil and reduced emission of greenhouse gasses.
A lot of these cars is going to be shared too. Companies have begun investing in car sharing and using apps which let people hail cars effortlessly. This is a pattern which most millennials prefer. The number of cars purchased between 2007 and 2011 between the age group of 18-34 fell by 30%. Millennials prefer car sharing options. This does make sense considering most of the lifetime of a car is spent parked. Also, instead of owning a single type of car, you can choose a car depending on what you need it for.
Still, there is quite a long way to go. Google’s car can only go up to 25 mph and is only meant for short trips. They can’t drive in heavy rain or snow. There are a number of complex situations which do not process well either like hesitant pedestrians and construction zones.
Also, EV’s need to become more accessible, affordable, and well-known. The number charging stations need to go up. There’s no point in waiting for self-driving technology to start switching to electric cars. If we want to see these cars on the roads soon, we need to continue increasing access to EV’s on the market.