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Driverless cars: Win-win?

The first innovation / disruptive technology I thought about when I read this prompt was driverless cars. Many businesses from Detroit to Silicon Valley have visions to unleash autonomous cars soon. For example, Google and GM have announced that they are developing autonomous vehicles.

However, I am more interested on the impact of autonomous cars, which includes a laundry list of potential outcomes. Some of these impacts are not surprising like the demand for ride-share drivers and taxi-cab drivers will dramatically decrease. This might put some people out of jobs. Autonomous cars would lead to fewer people owning cars as well, as these ride-share services will likely get much cheaper as they cut out labor expenses. One outcome I find interesting is living arrangements changes. I grew up in a rural area and drove 45 minutes to school everyday, so I got used to driving to and from school. However, if I had to choose today I’d pick to live much closer to a school for my children as that is a collective 1.5 hours in my day lost from driving. If I had an autonomous car, that would be 1.5 hours back in my day to do homework, catch up on work, or spend quality time with others in my car, not to mention sleep!

Autonomous cars are supposedly safer and will lead to less accidents, which sounds like a no-brainer win-win solution for everybody. However, 13% of organs made available for organ donation come from people dying in car crashes, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Hopefully by the time we have driverless cars, we will have the capabilities to harvest organs in labs to close this gap.

BY: Patrick Battisa




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