Impact of Advantages and Disadvantages of Autonomous Vehicles and Australian Citizens Perceptions of Driverless Cars

2738 words (11 pages) Essay in Technology

18/05/20 Technology Reference this

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About the Report

This report provides the advantages & disadvantages of applying the new automobile technology, Autonomous Vehicles (AV) or fully automated driverless cars, and its direct impacts in public and society. Discussing about the features of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) or driverless cars that are being perceived by the citizens of Australia, along with the pros and cons of the new technology. The main problem and conclusion also provided in the recommendation section to inform the government about what to do and support the newly developed fully automated driverless cars for the benefits of the government and the citizens of Australia. From this report, hopefully that it can give government insightful knowledge to review and improve the regulatory and policies regarding the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) for a better transportation in Australia.

 

Word Count

Autonomous Vehicles Report : 1498 words

Recommendation   :  515 words

Introduction: Current Development of Autonomous Vehicles

I am sure that the term of driverless cars is no longer a new thing for most of us these days since we know it from news and futuristic fictional movies about the advancement of future technologies. Schlossberg (2018, p. 2) mentioned that the next generation and development of transportation technology are coming and I believe that driverless cars are one of them.

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Several improvements and technological developments that have been done by today’s advanced knowledge and science have brought us closer to ideal driverless cars. It is shown by the technological developments of driverless cars that have been incredibly improved in ways of its advanced sensing, computing power, and electronics development, resulting in the possibilities to improve today’s transportation systems (Elbanhawi, Simic and Jazar 2015, p. 1). Not just the advancement of technology that is important, but there are also several aspects that are important about the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) and according to McBride (2015, p. 181), the balance of control between humans and robot cars and the transfer arrangement of controls based on the conditions of the environment are also essentials concern for the autonomous cars. For the last couple of years, the subject about the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) have also been quite getting much world-wide attention among the government reports, research studies and journals, media articles, blogs, entertainment industries like movies, etc (Sun et al. 2016, p. 1). Now we know that since the development of technology and science, and even the government is paying attention, the ideal driverless car and Autonomous Vehicle (AV) that we have seen in fiction films and comics may be available in the near future. If the government starting to pay attention to it, there might be several things need to be done by the government to improve the systems and policies of the newly advanced transportation such as Autonomous Vehicle or driverless cars if they will exist in reality. Larco (cited in Schlossberg et al. 2018, p.2) said that the time has come for the government to review again the fundamental objectives of transportation, systems and policies, and striving to make better transportation.

 

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Autonomous Vehicles (AV)

When looking at the improvements of new technologies and systems, it is probably good and wise of us, especially the government, to first analyze the impacts of the new technology itself, whether it’s positive impacts or even the negative ones. According to Howard & Dai (2013) on their research about the public perceptions of the self-driving cars in California, these are several advantages/opportunities and the disadvantages of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) or driverless cars:

Advantages/Positive Impacts:

Autonomous Vehicles (AV) have the capability to provide much safer, sustainable, and convenient transportation than the current transportation system and are beneficial for people because it allows people to travel on demand. Autonomous Vehicles (AV) can overcome the problems of safety, congestion, fuel efficiency and equity. Autonomous Vehicles (AV) also have the ability to follow traffic rules and the capability to stay alert and be much more responsive compared to casual drivers these days. Autonomous Vehicles’ connected vehicle technology is beneficial for safety benefits, to inform if something happens with the cars or passenger. Autonomous Vehicles for the city and other regional level are able to minimize the congestion level across the network once these driverless vehicles are ready and commercially used on the market at a certain point where it is fully functional. The reason why Autonomous Vehicles (AV) or driverless electric cars have the capability to minimize the possibility of the congestion is because of the demand-responsive routing system that enables Autonomous Vehicles (AV) to pick the best and fastest routes and avoid routes that may have delays or congestion on it even before they begin to slow down the traffic. Another thing that is beneficial with Autonomous Vehicles (AV) is the efficiency and environmental fuel system such as platooning vehicles that provides efficiency, regardless of the type of fuel. According to Ioannou (cited in Howard & Dai 2013, p. 5) the energy consumption of the cars behind the lead vehicle is reduced by 25% and getting aerodynamic benefits that reduce drag and wind noise. Covic et al. (cited in Howard & Dai 2013, p. 5) also mentioned that the adoption of the On-Line Electric vehicles (OLEVs) system in the self-driving vehicles allows the electric vehicles to receive power from the roadway using the inductive power transfer.  This is beneficial for the energy consumption of the transportation sector since it makes it possible for the vehicles to be powered in non-conventional ways since the precision of the navigation of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) which is much better than human drivers.  It is also beneficial for the upfront cost of the automobile to be high because it can be the way to prevent groups with the disadvantaged economy to buy cars, avoiding too many cars in the population and reduce the possibility of the congestion itself. This kind of automobile can also be advantageous for younger people without a legal driving license and people with physical or mental limitation because, with the Autonomous Vehicles (AV), these kinds of people can be benefited since they don’t need to be accompanied anytime by people or driver to drive the car on their own. Autonomous Vehicles (AV) can also be shared for each other and it can be affordable for people too. It is also beneficial for the environment if Autonomous Vehicles (AV) can be shared with others, reducing the amount of space consumed for the parking area and also reduce the building efforts and resources of the driverless cars.

Disadvantages/Negative Impacts:

Turns out there are also several challenges for the Autonomous Vehicles (AV), as the new technology in automobile, to be able to be commercially used for public transport. Even though driverless cars are good in a way of its technology, there are still several things need to be done by the government about the legal framework, changes in the regulations and policies, and the trust and control issues. In my opinion, like any other new technologies that are being developed these days, most of the questions about the negative impacts of the technology will most likely emerge among the public about the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) itself. KPMG (cited in Howard & Dai 2013, p. 6) also questioning about what if the technological driver loses control and what will happen if the vehicle crashes, since it is a driverless car that is connected through V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) or V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) technology without direct control of the human itself. This question can be a potential controversy. A huge amount of investment also needed in infrastructure for such connectivity technology and therefore other changes for the policies also required to address such issues. Another issue regarding the control and trust issues of the new technology itself has emerged among the public because of the newly invented automobile technology with an unproven safety record and this can be the reason why people will not feel comfortable with it, especially when using it for regular basis in their daily life. There are also still some general beliefs among the people that by giving full control of the car to the machine might be dangerous. And because of this, the newly developed Autonomous Vehicles (AV) are still in further debate on its impacts and it is still not yet available for the public to use it for regular basis since public’s perspective toward the new technology of Autonomous Vehicles (AV) is still in the grey area of uncertainty.

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From the advantages and disadvantages of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV), the advantages of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) is focused on more to the features of the technology itself, on the other side the disadvantages of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) focused on more to the regulatory and policies, trust and control issues, and the pricy cost of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) itself even though according to Regan et al. (2017, p. 5) there are other things to be considered and discussed from the demographic aspects of the public like gender, age, and state residency. For example, like the research done by Regan et al. (2017, p. 5) stated that the different level of awareness between Australian male and female and different level of trust between old and young people and the result is that old people had higher level of trust in Autonomous Vehicles (AV) and its benefits. But after all of those benefits, Regan et al. (2017, p. 24) concluded that most Australians are not willing to buy the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) because of the existing cars they owned. A lot of Autonomous Vehicles (AV) developers spend billions of dollars but buyers in Australia just don’t want to buy it because it’s too pricey (Hagon 2019). So it can be concluded that economic, government and societal factors do play big roles in determining the future existence of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV).

Recommendation

It appears that even though great technologies that are very beneficial for most people, there still have to be a lot of reconsideration and questioning the true essence of the new technology itself. We have to ask such question like “Does the new technology can really make changes among the society or it is just an improvement of a certain old technology and doesn’t need to be exchanged with the new one since it is still much more practical using the old ones ?” in order to maximize the product of the new technology to be commercially ready for use in daily basis. Because most of the cases from the advantages and disadvantages above, people don’t really feel the need to change their current automobile to the new driverless cars since it doesn’t really impact their life directly and the price is too expensive for most of the Australians. So we can see that the main problem for the citizens is in the expensive price of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV), without realizing the long-term impact from using the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) that can reduce congestion and its other benefits that can be beneficial for the government to manage the total population of cars in the city and it can simplify the government while managing the dynamics of transportation activities on the streets. We recommend the government to make policies and regulations, strategizing on how to reduce the price of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) by giving subsidy to ease the citizen on purchasing the new technology that benefits the government or by making an agreement with the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) developers to make the price of their products cheaper. For example like the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Australia and Japan that is beneficial for the citizen of Australia, allowing them to buy Japanese cars at a cheaper price (Ockenden 2014). Maybe such an agreement can be done once again and this time with the developers of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV). If the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) can be used for the daily basis, it will really benefit the government because it reduces the vehicle emissions and more road space, parking and other infrastructural aspects in the environment according to Hillier, Wright, & Damen (2015, p. 5). For the safety of the citizen, it is also possible that it can improve safety regarding the reason of the accident that happens most of the time, 94% because of the human error (take a look at Driverless cars: The benefits and what it means for the future of mobility 2017, p. 1). By this, we recommend to the government to also help to build perspective for the public regarding the trust issues of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV) itself and also help to make policies & regulations or make agreements to help give the citizen subsidy in order to support the beneficial changes for both government and the citizens of Australia. In conclusion, the main points that the government need to put their focus on are the perception of Australians & the cost reduction of the Autonomous Vehicles (AV).

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