Whether we’d like to admit it or not, driving is not easy. We might do it on a daily basis. But we certainly came a long way from our fifteen-year-old selves, bumbling as we try parallel parking at the behest of our strict driver’s ed instructors
This is why most drivers take great pride in their driving skills. They are confident in taking over the wheel. But car enthusiasts, in particular, love driving for many other reasons. It’s not just about mobility and convenience for them. They understand the nuances that come with being a car owner. They are completely in sync with the distance and capacity that their cars could take. They know when to opt for a standard car wash or auto detailing by a professional.
Not all people feel the same, though. For some of us, we think that self-driving cars are a godsend. These autonomous vehicles increased their productivity by taking over the time and effort spent being stuck in traffic. Some experts also claimed that self-driving cars increased road safety because they leave no room for natural human error.
With these in mind, we can’t help but think, how do car enthusiasts feel about self-driving cars?
Self-driving cars are created by some of the world’s greatest engineers working in top tech companies such as Tesla and Google. As such, the algorithms that make up the operations and decision-making capacities of self-driving cars are very advanced.
For example, the algorithm of self-driving cars made by Google is based on the probability of risk magnitude. For these cars, hitting a pedestrian has a risk magnitude of 100,000. Because the number is very high, the cars would do everything it can to avoid letting that happen.
A study by McKinsey and Company also showed that self-driving cars decreased road accidents by a whopping 90 percent. This led to saving up to $190 billion usually spent on damages.
However, despite these studies, car enthusiasts and the general public feel unsafe in a self-driving car. A survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of Americans will not ride in a self-driving car if given the chance. In fact, out of the responders who said no, 40 percent of them stated that they just don’t trust these vehicles. They don’t feel confident about relinquishing their control to them.
Productivity vs. Human Experience
When you’re a busy person who has a demanding job and wants to still be able to make time for family and friends, it’s natural for you to avoid doing mundane and time-consuming tasks such as driving. This is backed by the same Pew Research Center survey. They found that, out of the 44 percent of Americans who are willing to ride in a self-driving car, 15 percent of them say that it’s because they can do other things while on a journey. They’d be able to return some work calls or catch up on some sleep.
By letting cars take over the wheel, people could spend less time on stressful driving. The U.S. Census Bureau found that most of us spend two hours of their day just driving. If we could, it would be much better to spend those two precious hours on other things.
While there’s an increase in productivity, it definitely decreased the human experience of driving. Humans have the tendency to be unpredictable at times. When we’re driving, we might see a close friend of ours on the sidewalk. We’d pull up beside and offer them a ride. Or if we’re on our way home, we might see a Cosco and immediately remember some missing items in our pantry that we need to buy. So we’d immediately pass by the store first. But this can be a bit hard if we’re in a self-driving car with a designated destination already in place.
And, of course, there’s also that sheer love for driving that’s affected by self-driving cars. Car enthusiasts find joy in driving. They love the freedom of mobility and the control that they feel. No self-driving car could compete with this experience.
Self-driving cars are part of a bright future that’s already being built by our advancements in technology. They symbolize our growing reliance and deepening relationship with technology. Riding in a car has safety risks. So it’s a wonder how some of us could be very willing to trust autonomous vehicles to ensure our safety from road accidents.
But then it’s also important to remember that self-driving cars can never replace the joy of driving. It’s a hobby for some. It’s a passion for others. Car enthusiasts have a deep relationship with their cars and that relationship is rooted in their ability to be in sync with each other.