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Can human driving become illegal?

A popular science fiction trope is that in the future, cars will be so advanced that they will drive themselves. The future, it would seem, is now. In California, Google cars are now allowed to roam driverless, and this has spurred a lot of discussion concerning safety. However, it is not in the way most would think.

While some thought the driverless cars would result in people fearing for their safety, the near spotless track record of the driverless cars has called into question the much more dangerous habits of the human driver. Now the concern is if humans should be allowed to continue to operate our cars.

Driverless Cars

Driverless cars work on a combination of motion sensing cameras that are able to recognize objects, and a solid connection to the Google Maps system. They are able to recognize pedestrians and can act accordingly, they obey all traffic signals, and they never speed. Google cars don’t get drunk, distracted, or text while driving. As a result, they have consistently proven to be safer than the human alternative.

In a recent interview with the head of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk made the comment that the technology for driverless cars is not only here, but practical and viable. He stressed the safety of driverless cars, and discussed how in the near future, regulation services will be in place to help further monitor these incredible inventions.

Data Tests

How does the car stand up in real world driving tests? Let’s look at the stats. Since 2012, a group of vehicles has been tested on roads as difficult as San Francisco’s Lombard Street. The results showed over 300,000 miles completed without any accidents. By 2014, 700,000 miles had been clocked. As of 2015, the 23 self-driving cars were involved in 12 minor driving accidents total, all of which were not the fault of the automated driver.

Human Drivers Becoming Illegal

While we’re not in danger of seeing human drivers become illegal any time soon, the possibility for it to happen in the future is very real. As companies like Google and NVidia work to advance driverless technology, GPS, and recognition systems on cameras, the idea behind driverless cars is more and more appealing. One chief area driverless cars has attracted a lot of attention is in delivery vehicles. Being able to take the human factor out, means less of a risk of accidents and late arrivals. Also, this cuts down on people misusing company vehicles for personal errands. For a fleet that is looking at cost-effective options, the ability to monitor your cars from a home office and know that the drivers will do exactly what you want them to is very attractive.

While we still have a long way to go before we’re not allowed behind the wheel, the day could come when the driverless car becomes the norm. Until then, we’ll just have to keep a (proverbial) eye out.