Potential Challenges Faced by Self-driving or Driverless Cars

As it is with most man-made products, so also it is with self-driving cars: they have benefits or advantages and also have disadvantages or challenges as well. Traditionally, cars have influenced the design of major cities, construction of roads, and design and sizes of parking lots.

But, these may likely change as self-driving cars continue to become increasingly popular and available. Self-driving, driverless, or autonomous cars have many benefits, including the potential to reduce health costs and make roads easier and safer to use.

However, as we continue to move forward into a dim or unknown future that hardly speaks in the present, it is important for us to bear in mind some potentially daunting challenges that would require the attention of scientists and governments. They include the following:

1. Ethical issues & information/data security breach

Because self-driving cars rely a lot on collected data that can be used to optimize their performance, concerns regarding the privacy and security of collected data will continue to arise or exist and need to be addressed.

Imagine scenarios where the “who, what, where, and when” of our activities and lives are captured and saved. What if such important information falls into the hands of immoral or mischievous people? Imagine situations whereby the sensory inputs that need to be created, have to be tied or linked to our smartphones, our credit cards, and personal security and biometrics.

Companies that produce self-driving cars may face possible backlash if they cannot set up effective rigorous data security measures and vigilance systems or networks. While driverless car technologies are still relatively new, it is crucial for national and regional governments to start considering guidelines that can ensure self-driving cars are utilized in ways that protect consumer privacy.

2. Unforeseen circumstances

Life is as unpredictable as the variety and possible circumstances a self-driving car could get into. It may be a challenging or even daunting task to program self-driving cars to accurately know or anticipate and respond effectively to every potential situation, such as: detecting unknown or unfamiliar objects are blocking the roadway; detecting when or whether a pedestrian is suddenly coming into the roadway; detecting when or whether an unidentified object or plane is falling on the roadway from the sky; etc.

3. Adjusting to weather conditions and climate change

In the midst of the unpredictable and deteriorating weather patterns of the present-day and likely future, self-driving cars may face an uphill task of changing from the way they operate, and adapting how they operate in response to changing weather patterns (heavy rain, falling hailstones, slippery roads, etc.). Self-driving car sensors may find it difficult to recognize some difficult weather conditions, such as the conditions that involve snow.

Concluding remarks

The challenges discussed in the preceding paragraphs may just be a few that people, companies, and governments would have to address as self-driving cars are becoming increasingly popular and widely available. A potentially tougher challenge may be: proving to the public that self-driving cars are and will continue to be safer than traditional cars.

It will be the duty of national leaders to cooperate with self-driving car industries and educate the masses on the benefits and challenges of self-driving cars and begin to think constructively in order to be better prepared to lead legislatively and find solutions for potential problems before self-driving cars enter the market on large scale.

10 thoughts on “Potential Challenges Faced by Self-driving or Driverless Cars

    1. Thank you Jenny. you’ve made a very strong point that needs to be recalled: “So much that we do when we drive has to do with quick reflexes and split second analysis/logic”. I–like you–also don’t see how a computer will ever replace such intelligent people created by an awesome GOD…I can’t come to terms with it. I just can’t

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Supposedly there is a capability now to stop the motor of a car with electronics, but I cannot confirm that.

        Like

  1. For your #2 Unforeseen Circumstances, Malcolm Gladwell did an entire podcast about how humans could ‘take back the streets’ with all self-driving cars, because the car is programed to not hit anything. So as a pedestrian, if we want to cross the road, we just have to step out and all self-driving cars would stop. Same with bikes. He was taking it to the extreme, but again, it would be nice to walk and cycle without fear of death. Excellent read, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

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