6 Myths about Autonomous Car Adoption

September 03, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer


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Myth or Fact – Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles aren’t just coming. They are here now. What remains is the widespread legislative approval and adoption of the technology. Like every new technology though there are many myths circulating about them. I’ve compiled a list of 6 Facts or/Myths about them.

1.    They will be affordable – Myth
Current estimates place the cost of fully autonomous vehicles at well over $100,000 each. They aren’t going to be filling our driveways anytime soon.

2.    The adoption of autonomous cars means there will be fewer private cars – Myth
Recent studies from the giant KPMG and other research firms have predicted that the number of private cars will decrease as a result of autonomous vehicles by about 40% by 2030 (keep in mind that’s only 11 years from now). However, the facts are that people don’t just buy cars to commute. They buy them for the convenience of going where they want, when they want, how they want.
North American car owners in particular (due to poor public transit options, a car centric society, and large geographic areas) are accustomed to having a car at their disposal at all times with our ‘things’ in them. For most of us they are an extension of our private homes.
Until the inconvenience factor of having to summon and wait for autonomous cars fleets to show up at the door almost immediately it will be a hard sell to car owners to give up their personal cars. This will remain particularly true for those who live outside large municipalities who have never even had the option of taking transit or even cabs, and for whom car ownership is a necessity of life not a luxury.

3.    Autonomous cars will cure congestion – Myth
Car makers, politicians and huge tech leaders like Google and Tesla have touted that the widespread adoption of autonomous cars will eliminate congestion. Pods or platoons of them will travel close on the road saving fuel and moving with mathematical precision to avoid congestion and reduce trip times.  Unless urban design and downtown parking issues are carefully considered these fleets of autonomous (presumable electric vehicles) will find it cheaper to be cruising the streets than to park and this will create more congestion problems than we think. They may also increase the traffic as people shift from public transit to ride hailing options.

4.    The environment will benefit from the adoption of autonomous vehicles – Myth
Autonomous vehicle technology is often touted as having no emissions, no crashes and no congestion. The truth of this is not known. For many areas of the world electricity is not available, in the far northern hemisphere solar is not a good source of power for 6 months of the year, and wind remains problematic. The source of electricity is an issue as well. If nations rely on coal, natural gas or hydro electric power the electricity isn’t as ‘clean’ as we think. Many internal combustion cars could also simply be overlaid with the technology of AV thus meaning the cars are no cleaner.
The source of the battery components for electric powered vehicles remains problematic as well. Lithium is a critical component and it comes from war torn areas of Africa where child labour and slavery are used as manpower, and the environment is not a consideration in the extraction process. The proceeds of extraction fund internal and eternal wars.

5.    Car Insurance will no longer be required – Myth
Insurance will still be required for system failure, for unavoidable risks. The computers will still crash. They will need to make decisions about who/what to hit or kill or injury in some situations. Insurance will be required to assess blame, and to compensate for damages.

6.    Autonomous Vehicles are safer than human drivers already – Myth
 The answer is that the technology is not well evolved enough yet to make that claim. We lack the metrics and data to measure the claim as of yet. Until industry standards and benchmarks are established we won’t be able to know with any certainty when they overtake humans in safety.


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