One of the most revolutionary technologies in the automotive industry is the introduction of autonomous vehicles. This technology allows vehicles to work on their own without depending on human control. Although this technology is still in limited or industrial use, it is expected that in the near future, self-driving cars will be a common sight on our roads.

As technology advances and more self-driving vehicles are introduced to the public, society will begin feeling its impacts – both negative and positive. Below we explore some of the effects that autonomous vehicles may have on our lives.

Economic impacts

One of the greatest fears of technological advancement is the replacement of human labour. Manual workers doing repetitive tasks such as construction workers, manufacturing and farming will most likely be replaced by autonomous machines. With the ever-increasing human population, the strain on existing jobs will increase, which could negatively impact the economy. However, as new industries develop in response to new technology, it’s highly likely those traditional jobs will be replaced with new and different roles.

Although most people choose to focus on the negative side, there are also positive implications of autonomous vehicles that are already being experienced. For instance, San Francisco and Austin intend to provide transportation options to residents with low income using autonomous technology.

Industrial changes

Autonomous vehicles are already causing great changes in the way industries operate. Sectors such as farming and mining are continuously adopting autonomous technology in part since it is becoming cheaper. Mining companies are using autonomous vehicles to increase the safety of workers in high-risk environments due to their accuracy and low accident risk.

Increased driving safety

One of the main benefits of self-driving vehicles is their low risk of accidents and fatalities. The current economic impact of road accidents on the economy is in the hundreds of billions annually, without counting the effects of human fatalities. Autonomous vehicles will, therefore, help in reducing the mortality rate of individuals, allowing for a more relaxed life where you can read, access the internet, or even work when driving.

Less time will be spent on roads

Self-driving vehicles have higher efficiency and this will be reflected in the traffic flow, where vehicles will generally move faster with fewer hold-ups and less time spent searching for parking spaces. This reduction in travel time will enable commuters to get more done, potentially boosting productivity, economic prosperity and reducing congestion and its environmental impacts.

Although much is uncertain about the future, the current pace of development when it comes to machine learning technology makes it easy to predict that autonomous cars are an inevitable aspect of the future. All that can be done now is to anticipate the implications that this revolutionary technology will have on our lives and take measures to alleviate any negative effects.

Photo: Google Self Driving Car @CHM by donjd2 licensed under Creative Commons 4.0