Everybody remembers the first time they get behind the wheel. They can feel the adrenaline start to pump, hands clenched at ten and two o’clock just like dad said. Finally after listening to a long-winded speech about being safe driving and how “the car is no toy” you put the car in drive and are off! This is a once in a lifetime type feeling, but sadly one that kids in the future won’t get to experience. This is because the future is going to consist of driverless cars. This experience that has been such a big part of people’s lives for generations, is becoming automatized. This is going to bring about a big cultural shift as people adjust to not driving anymore, but being driven everywhere.
This transition has already been underway and is starting its long evolution to full automation at UPS to help make deliveries more efficient. This computer software has been the work of millions of dollars over years to try and save UPS money by creating the most efficient system of delivery packages, while maintaining some of the autonomy for delivery drivers. As mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article by Steven Rosenbush and Laura Stevens, At UPS, The Algorithm is the Driver, “Orion…is not an endgame; it is part of a platform,” Mr Abney, UPS’s CEO, said…UPS Engineers are already enhancing Orion so it will update delivery schedules while drivers are on the road, useful in a situation in which a driver might abandon Orion’s instructions because of an unexpected road closure due to an accident, but want to resume using Orion late in the day.” This self adjusting automation will save UPS millions of dollars a year in shipping costs, and is the type of software that self driving cars will eventually utilize. This will revolutionize many industries such as UPS’s as the need for delivery drivers dissipates.
One big concern with driverless cars is if they will be safe. This should not be of any concern because as Ray Massey writes in his article, Self-driving Cars hit UK Roads, “Many experts say that driverless cars could actually reduce the risk of accidents as computers are able to react a lot faster than humans.” He also notes “94% of road deaths and injuries involve human error.” This statistic alone is a reason advocating for driverless cars. Humans make mistakes, and while people may argue that computers do too, if we can even reduce the amount of accidents and traffic deaths by 20%, a very modest goal, we will save ~250,000 people’s lives. Which is reason enough to continue this movement to driverless cars.