It’s difficult to imagine sharing the highway with cars that can drive themselves, but as we know, that may become an everyday reality before too long. By some reports, at least 10 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2020.
Guidelines for introducing this futuristic prospect are in the process of being carefully outlined and hammered out. Meanwhile, traditional automakers and tech companies have been testing prototypes on public roads, but so far a person has been kept in the driver’s seat who can take control in an emergency.
Federal officials are struggling with how to capitalize on the technology’s promised safety benefits while readying the cars for widespread use. Self-driving cars presumably react faster than humans and have the potential to save thousands of lives that are lost on the nation’s roads each year. They could also change the lives of the elderly and the disabled.
In an op-ed published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, President Obama stated that, “Safer, more accessible driving. Less congested, less polluted roads. That’s what harnessing technology for good can look like…We have to get it right. Americans deserve to know they’ll be safe today as we develop and deploy the technologies of tomorrow.”
So you may soon have to leave your road rage at home. Nobody’s driving that car in front of you that insists on turtling along at the speed limit. Beep beep!