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What are the advantages of having self-driving cars?

We will be able to have more cars in the traffic at the same time, but won't it also make more people choose to use the cars, so both the traffic and the public health will actually become worse?

Are we really interested in this?

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One of the main arguments for self-driving cars is that presumably they'll get better and better at driving as the technology progresses, they have no temporal attention deficits or aggressive urges or drug habits and sense their environment 360°, all the while communicating with the other cars, which all together basically amounts to LESS DEAD PEOPLE.

We are really interested in this.

It is also unclear whether most people will actually own cars in 30 years. Maybe there'll be a net of mini busses with flexible routes which take you from door to door on demand. That would reduce traffic quite a bit and there would also be less incentive to drive 200 m to get cigarettes or something. Self-driving cars would allow us to use the car as a resource a lot more efficiently, because suddenly we can relocate empty cars without paying a driver.

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There are multiple motivations for self driving cars.

  1. Self driving cars have the potential to be much safer.

Self driving cars are far more reliable than humans and can learn and have their software improved and upgraded, resulting in safer roads and far fewer accidents.

More on self-driving car safety: http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/googles-self-driving-car-is-ridiculously-safe

  1. Self driving cars can lead to greater road efficiency.

Traffic jams and obstructions occur due to inefficiencies in human driving, see this MIT simulation of a "phantom traffic jam": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q78Kb4uLAdA and self driving cars can be programmed to avoid this.

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  1. Greater economic and environmental benefit

Self driving cars can keep driving costs down by conserving fuel and hence lead to a better environmental impact.

More on fuel efficiency: http://movimentogroup.com/blog/how-self-driving-cars-increase-fuel-efficiency-decrease-waste/

  1. Ease of transport

Self driving cars make transport easier and mean that drivers may be unnecessary in the future, resulting in a more pleasurable and easier drive.

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In addition, this would make it easier for people with disabilities to travel as well as simplify the travel experience. Children could potentially be driven to school by a car without the supervision of a parent, for instance.

  1. Parking

Self driving cars can be called to pick you up, meaning the need for parking in nearby locations and/or long walks to find your car may become a thing of the past as your car would drive up to you to pick you up.

  1. Things we haven't even thought of yet :)
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Why are self-driving cars awesome?

  • Safety: better awareness (due to more sensors), better reaction time, fewer distracted/injured/drunk/texting drivers on the road, etc
  • Convenience: pick up my kids from school, park itself at the grocery store, take itself to be serviced, etc
  • Faster transit: with increased safety, you can increase speed limits, with proper routing algorithms you don't need traffic lights and stop signs any more (when you have dedicated self-driving lanes & intersections)
  • Comfort: recline, read, game, or snooze while traveling (yay!)
  • Cost: subsidize the cost of the vehicle using ads (e.g. projected onto the windshield)
  • etc
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If they are able to network, then they can notify the car behind that it is about to break. In this way they can drive closer together at high speeds. As soon as one puts on the breaks, all the cars behind would apply the breaks. They would not require the 2 seconds that it takes for a human to respond.

Children could be dropped at school or the train station automatically.

People would not need to park a car; it could drop them at work and drive away.

Taxis would probably become more viable than private car ownership.

Car theft might be more difficult.

Where I live, public transport is hardly viable because the government struggles to provide enough parking spaces at train stations and bus stops. The closest empty parking spot by 8:30am is 30minuets walk to the platform. Driverless cars would solve this problem, and Traveling by train would actually become viable for me.

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I'd like to add, self-driving cars would also be excellent for disabled people who would otherwise not be able to drive. Adds a lot more autonomy to vulnerable people

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Safety is often put in focus by journalists. Although there is potential to make the roads safer, I don't think that is the driving force behind the push for self-driving cars. The main advantage of self-driving cars is that this will reduce costs for businesses, while increasing efficiency (both fuel and time). From the perspective of the public, the self-driving cars are attractive, because they will turn the task of driving, into commute. Activity that requires attention will be replaced with somewhat free time.

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Self driving cars are good for the following reasons:

  • In the case of an emergancy, urgancy, or just someone being unable to drive unexpactedly, the car can go by itself to a designated location - this is useful in so many use cases - kids who need to get somewhere while parents are busy, Parents who drank a little too much and prefer to take 'the cab' home, or while running, you got injured and need a pick-up.
  • The examples above are for the more obvious things, which we currently have a struggle with. but other than those, Self-driving cars will open a door for a much wider scale of things: safe police chases (just a car without a police officer), taxies, help in the battle field, and much more...
  • The third and most important benefit, is the safety and economical properties of self driving cars: with a lot of those cars on the road, they can 'understand' each other and nothing will go unpredicted. they have much faster response time then humans, and maybe in the future they will even be able to predict traffic-light changes, and by that save gas and money (even more than what they can save right now by driving economicly)
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I think that one very big advantage would be that if the cars could communicate with each other, they could drive synchronously.
For example, if there was a traffic light, and, let's say, 10 cars are waiting for it to change to green (let's just assume that there would still be something similar to traffic lights). Then when it changes to green all cars could accelerate at the same speed (depending on the acceleration of the front car) at the same time.

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