If science and technology continues to develop, driverless cars will be around in our lifetime. For some people, the thought of riding in a car that doesn't have a driver or doesn't have a driver that is doing anything to operate the car may be frightening, but scientists believe that fully automated cars will actually be far safer. With an estimated 90 percent of car accidents caused by distracted driving, cars that are operated by computers should be able to significantly reduce the number of crashes.
Distractions are another big cause of car accidents. Especially with people's dependence on their smartphones, there are a number of accidents that easily could have been avoided if the driver had just put his or her phone down and paid attention to the road. With driverless cars, however, individuals can text to their hearts' content without putting other motorists at risk.
In addition, it is thought that automated cars would be able to reduce pollution by largely eliminating traffic problems. The amount of gasoline that is wasted by sitting in traffic is immense.
The unfortunate thing about automated cars? There is still a lot that needs to be done before they are on the market. Car manufacturers are slowly incorporating automated features into their cars, but they are not willing to put a fully automated car on the market until it is quite clear that it is safe. Moreover, many of the benefits of automated cars will only take effect when there are enough automated cars on the road. Until most people in Reading are driving automated cars, there will still be a need to drive carefully and distraction-free.
Source: MIT Technology Review, "Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think," Will Knight, Oct. 22, 2013