Driverless vehicles
Fuel efficiency is as important a factor in reducing emissions and our dependence on oil, as using alternative fuels, mass transportation and bicycles. The Obama Administration has nearly doubled the vehicle fuel efficiency standard for 2025 automobiles from 28 to 54.5 miles per gallon. In hope that technology will be a key to fuel efficiency, companies like Google and Tesla are building cars that can drive themselves using algorithms, sensors and lasers. Driverless cars will be able to bunch closer together at steadier speeds. Traffic jams and accidents will become a thing of the past. It is estimated that the reduction in wind drag from vehicles traveling closely together could reduce fuel use by 25%. Driverless vehicles could also be built much lighter since collisions will no longer be a concern. Cars that currently weigh 4,000 pounds could one day weigh less than 1,000 pounds, nearly doubling fuel efficiency. Supporters also say that light, driverless cars will make the transition to electric vehicles easier since theses vehicles could travel further on a single battery charge. Opponents claim driverless cars will not reduce fuel consumption since they will allow more people to “drive” including those under 16, the elderly, the disabled and those taking medication. They also say this technology could cause public transportation to loose its allure and for urban sprawl to grow. Some worry of accidents resulting from technical problems or unforeseen circumstances.

Since 2010, Google has been testing its driverless cars in states which allow them to be driven on their streets, including Nevada, California, Florida, Michigan and Washington DC. Google’s newest driverless car design, anticipated for public availability in 2020, has neither pedals nor a steering wheel. In nearly 1 million miles of self-driving, Google reported 11 minor (light damage, no injuries) accidents, saying "Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident." However, Wikipedia states that “As of August 28, 2014 the latest prototype has not been tested in heavy rain or snow due to safety concerns. Because the cars rely primarily on pre-programmed route data, they do not obey temporary traffic lights and, in some situations, revert to a slower "extra cautious" mode in complex unmapped intersections. The vehicle has difficulty identifying when objects, such as trash and light debris, are harmless, causing the vehicle to veer unnecessarily. Additionally, the lidar technology cannot spot some potholes or discern when humans, such as a police officer, are signaling the car to stop.”

Pending Legislation: None

Issue Suggestions

Suggest an important issue not listed in this sub-category (). (Maximum 60 Characters)

Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

Democracy Rules respects the privacy of your information.