Would You Take a Ride in a Driverless Car?

Driverless cars are taking a leap into the future and jobs that work with autonomous cars are working on perfecting the design and function. According to the New York Times, a recent study shows that almost 80 percent of Americans fear traveling in a self-driving car.

AJ Freithoffer, Columnist

Companies all over the world are working on driverless cars, including, Google, Intel, Tesla, Uber, and many more. Google started working on autonomous driving in 2009 and they are hoping to be able to perfect the ones they have already built by 2020. Now, almost eight  years later, Google has had their  cars, the first of their kind to have driven on the road, testing in four cities across the nation according to Business Insider. Each one of these cars have driven about two million miles. Despite their on-the-road experience, there is still more work to be done  for example, programming and also transporting the technology into different cars.  Google can thank a man named Sebastian Thrun for the idea of these self driving cars. Sebastian was a professor at Stanford University before coming up with this idea on autonomous driving. After sharing with Google, he started working there and, during his time there, he also came up with more inventions like the Google Glass and Street View. He later left Google to continue their work on autonomous cars and started his own company called Education Startup Udacity.

Intel is yet another company that works with these driverless cars, competing against Google and other companies. Intel is working with a company called Waymo to make their driverless cars. Waymo makes the sensors that help the cars be able to drive like a normal car and not cause accidents or harm to others. Waymo also works with Google with the exact same thing. The CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, wrote in a post, “That’s an astounding thought: Something almost 90 percent of Americans do every day will end within a generation. With so much life-saving potential, it’s a rapid transformation that Intel is excited to be at the forefront of along with other industry leaders like Waymo.” He is proud to be able to have Waymo help them with their driverless cars to make them more safe for people. There are a lot of groups at Intel that work with these autonomous cars, as there are a lot of different parts to make these cars including engineering, architectural structuring, etc. Different teams take on different projects and when they come up with ideas they all come together to discuss what they have created. It takes a lot of time and energy from a lot of people to be able to make these cars work correctly and safely.

Tristan Lovely, freshman, gave his opinion on driverless cars, saying, “I think driverless cars are cool and all, [and] I would drive them, but I think it is important to be engaged in a vehicle. People say it’s because of human error that things go wrong but it could be a million other things like programming errors so unless I try it out first I think self driving cars are somewhat dangerous.” Will Harrison, who is also a freshman, answered to the same question saying, “My opinion on driverless cars [is] that it’s a good invention and I think people should try it out. I would ride in a driverless car because I just think it would be cool.” Tracey Freithoffer, who works in a group that works on autonomous driving at Intel, said, “Yes, they are a big thing right now! There’s a lot of research and testing being done to make sure they are safe for people to drive. I believe to some extent they are safe, but of course there’s a lot to factor in. I’m not sure I would drive in one just yet as there’s a lot being done to make sure they’re safe and cause no accidents. However, once the testing has been perfected, I would certainly ride in one and I’m truly looking forward to the day of having an autonomous car.”

Driverless cars continue to be worked on but nobody knows when these cars will be ready. Most of the leading companies are predicting that they will come onto the market in 2020, but as that is just an estimate; it could be more or less time than what has been suggested. No matter when they come out, however, I’m sure the world just can’t wait until they are finished and ready to drive.