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Will Self-Driving Cars Solve Traffic Problems?

Benson has been writing for several years gaining a lot of knowledge and insight on different areas.

The simple answer is no. There are several reasons for that.

In recent years, there has been a push towards self-driving cars as a mode of transportation. Many companies have self-driving vehicles ranging from advanced to very basic. Most people say that autonomous automobiles are likely to be the future of transportation because of the ease of use and cause less congestion. They are also less polluting than other vehicles because they use electricity. There have also been talks that self-driving vehicles will solve many traffic problems. The question is will self-driving vehicles solve traffic problems. In my opinion, the answer is no. There are likely to cause more traffic problems because of their nature. There are some reasons for the conclusion.

Driverless cars are too slow because they keep to the speed limit

The programming in most autonomous cars means that they can only travel at a certain speed throughout their journey and cannot accelerate when needed like humans. Some situations call for acceleration when driving. When driving on the highway or the fast lane, individuals know they have to travel at high speeds and decelerate when necessary.

However, self-driving cars can travel at a given speed but might have a problem accelerating when needed. Therefore, they might have a problem while traveling on the highway. It means that there will be numerous cars on the road traveling at the same speed and do not accelerate and decelerate accordingly. They are likely to cause traffic jams that can last for days. Thus, the nature of autonomous vehicles means that they can only keep to the speed limit and will cause them to be slower than human drivers. Although it seems like a good thing, it is likely to cause problems with traffic.

A problem in the software can cause countless complications

Driverless cars depend on software to enable them to navigate different routes. They use maps that guide them to their destinations. Thus, they are dependent on software from the manufacturers for their navigation and safe driving. Therefore, if there are bugs in the navigation software, then problems will happen on the road. The development of a comprehensive autonomous software is complicated and can lead to other issues. All it takes is hacking of the manufacturer providing driverless services or a bug in the system leading to the shutdown of many vehicles.

Other issues like updates can cause malfunctions in the vehicles or delays in the delivery of services. The process of software upgrade also involves updating many automobiles in different locations at once, which, can be a challenging task because it needs internet access. Software problems are frequent even with computers and can cause issues that are likely to affect many people, which will be a negative of self-driving vehicles because they can happen while traveling and cause major traffic jams or accidents.

Natural disasters can lead to traffic jams

Although driverless cars are useful in dry and clear weather, they might have a challenge in times of natural disasters. When natural disasters occur, it is usually a chaotic situation, which requires concentration and experience while driving. During heavy rainstorms, drivers have to be extremely cautious because of the bad weather conditions. The navigation of roads is tricky and can result in traffic jams.

Although driverless cars have technological advancements for driving, they might have issues with changes in weather conditions and on the road, which can occur at any time. It might be hard for vehicles to navigate during times of natural disasters for several reasons. One of the reasons is electricity. The systems that run the automobiles are electric-powered. When natural disasters occur, they are likely to go offline, which, can be a disadvantage of having a self-driving vehicle.

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The vehicles are likely to shut down in traffic at that particular time because they lack the power with the controls turning off. In natural disasters, blockages like other vehicles, falling rocks, and flying debris can block roads. The automobiles might have a hard time trying to navigate. It would be very chaotic to have self-driving cars during such a situation because they do not have the capabilities to handle chaos in times of disaster.

Many manufacturers use different settings for their vehicles

The manufacturers of various autonomous cars use different settings and offer varied controls to the vehicles. The differences in the settings can cause problems because they might work incorrectly. Manufacturers also do no work with each other leading to chaos in the streets. Lack of uniformity in manufacturing and controls in the vehicles can be a challenge to their operation on the roads. Unless government regulations guide the kind of controls and settings that the EV manufacturers should use to control their vehicles to provide uniformity in traffic, then the differences are likely to cause traffic difficulties globally.

It is usually difficult for many car manufacturers to work together because of competition for the market share and profitability margins. Thus, It will be challenging for the various manufacturers to work together to ensure that their products are similar because they want to differentiate themselves in the services offered to the customers, which can be a challenge and might lead to problems.

Having a single-vehicle control system can be challenging

The other problem with driverless vehicles is that manufacturers have a single system controlling many vehicles simultaneously. The system has to make numerous decisions to accommodate different situations. Therefore, it will be difficult for a single system to deal with the different scenarios, which might come on the road. It will be hard for driverless vehicles to navigate, as the system has to make numerous decisions depending on the situation and the conditions on the road.

Although advances in computing like quantum computers can increase processing and multitasking and ease the navigation of the many self-driving vehicles, it might take a long time before the systems can get to levels of ensuring zero delays in traffic. It is also hard to have a single system, which focuses on a single task without human intervention. Therefore, there could be system overload because the computers cannot keep up with the numerous situations and conditions on the road. The circumstances will likely be worse because of different manufacturers having unique navigation systems. It will lead to global traffic problems inconveniencing passengers and pedestrians.

In Conclusion

Many people say that autonomous vehicles will solve road problems that exist currently. One of these problems is traffic jams, which numerous individuals state its cause is human drivers. However, many situations can inhibit self-driving vehicles causing them to be as bad as human drivers in navigation. It will make them unreliable in the circumstances compared to human drivers that can make quick judgments and adjust accordingly to the changes happening.

Driverless vehicles are likely to be less efficient in traffic because there will be slow keeping to the speed limit. Issues like bugs in the software and other unseen dangers lurking on the roads will also make the navigation of the vehicles difficult.

It will be challenging for autonomous vehicles to achieve control and efficiency of people in different circumstances. Thus, there is less likelihood driverless vehicles are the solution to traffic problems. They are likely to be the source of traffic jams in the future.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 BENSON M5

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