Imagine we have reached the level of advancement that we have manufactured level-5 autonomous driving cars, across the globe. Envisaging this technology being offered as standard or a purchasable option, akin to features fitted as standard today such as ABS, is remarkable.
During the manufacturing process of level-5 autonomous driving, a momentous level of work went into the avoidance of any car to human accident scenarios. Autonomous cars are deemed wholly safe to pedestrians, meaning when they see pedestrians, they automatically stop and give way. The concept sounds faultless.
The problems, however, start here, we, humans, are good at learning shortcuts to reach our goals or objectives. One of our, often subconscious daily goals is to cross the road by the quickest means possible. Naturally, in our climate of haste, we do not want to be forced to wait for cars to stop, for us to cross a road, what we ultimately want is for them to stop and give way to us infinitely.
With the help of level-5 autonomous driving technology, this will be possible. Humans will realise, when they jump in front of an autonomous car, it will stop regardless of the location of the car. Thus, we could be walking around the streets, without fear of getting knocked over by a car.
The question is, if this occurs, what will happen next? The next challenge to emerge will be the sheer volume of traffic and congestion on the roads, and as these level-5 cars do not have a steering wheel or another control instrument, drivers will be limited in their ability to interfere and improve this. Essentially what could evolve is that a Rolls-Royce car can turn into a machine and drive itself, but it cannot travel from point to A to B, uninterrupted, because, someone will always jump in front of the car and consequently the car will stop. It is therefore hard to visualise a journey of this nature, with a half a million pound Rolls-Royce travelling much slower than a human.
It is not to suggest that these autonomous cars need to be created to be more aggressive, but it needs to be acknowledged that in some instances we can almost be too logical when developing a product. It is more likely that level-5 cars will fit perfectly with driving on highways rather than being suited to urban driving. As computers cannot measure emotion and act emotively, driving a level-5 autonomous car will not be the optimal mode of transport in city environments, in the future.