The futuristic concept of self-driving cars isn’t too far from reality at this point—if experts in the auto industry are to be believed. But, with all of the negative press surrounding these vehicles recently, is this really something you would consider owning? Well, before you make up your mind, let’s look at the potential pros and cons of this upcoming technology.
With the possibility of autonomous cars comes the possibility of time! How long is your current commute to work? What about to extracurricular activities—yours or your children’s? Studies estimate that the average American spends anywhere from one hour in the car each day to an hour and a half. (See how they got this data.) However, our area is notorious for higher-than-average traffic time. Meaning, you could be spending double the national average in your car. As a driver, that amounts to an extra ten hours per week. What would you do with ten more hours? Well, that’s what the promise of self-driving cars could bring.
Additionally, safety is a huge factor in the future of vehicles. The idea is that with the proper computer programs navigating your drive home, it could drastically reduce your chance of an accident—if not eliminate the risk completely. We’re on our way there already with self-braking cars. Tesla is most notable for pioneering this technology, but it’s also currently available in certain Audi models, the Mercedes Benz E-Class, the more affordable Toyota Camry and Rav-4, as well as the Nissan Murano. They’ve already found that vehicles equipped with the sensors to brake for you if they detect the possibility of an accident can drastically reduce the number of rear-end collisions. Imagine what will happen once the entire car becomes automated!
While these features sound like a dream come true, the original projections to have self-driving vehicles on the road by late 2018/early 2019 seem increasingly inaccurate as we approach these deadlines. Several auto manufacturers and tech companies have attempted to test drive their version of this invention on deserted (or nearly so) courses. Unfortunately, this has resulted in accidents, meaning there are still a few kinks to work out in their artificial intelligence programming before they can be authorized for use today. To learn more about the current software struggles, check this out.
Another obstacle to self-driving car ownership is cost. Think about all of the safety features and additional technology we have access to in our vehicle choices today. Now, think about how much each of these add-ons costs. If self-braking and Bluetooth are still considered luxury items, where will autonomous cars fall on cost comparisons? Right now, the price tag to build a standard self-driving model is right around $200,000. So, unless they can find a way to drastically reduce this number, this technology will simply be out of reach for the average American household.
As it stands currently, we’ve still got a little way to go before self-driving cars officially come on the market. By the time manufactures work out the kinks and start to mass produce models, who knows what they’ll truly look like (or cost)? So, at this point, we recommend staying tuned for future developments. But, don’t forget to ask us about auto insurance discounts for any safety features your present vehicles may have. You can even give us a call at Freedom Insurance Agency when you’re shopping around! We’re happy to give you an insurance insider’s perspective—not to mention quotes from multiple carriers.