Remember all the recall-related headlines of the past two years? Those manufacturer errors account for only about 2% of deaths on the road. Conversely, 94% of lives lost in motor-vehicle accidents are due to human error. These are startling numbers, which lead to sobering realizations. Back in 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was formed to study our highways and roads in an effort to minimize the risks associated with driving. As technology has advanced, this administration’s scope and responsibilities have advanced as well. Dr. Mark Rosekind, the current NHTSA Administrator, spoke with Bryan Reimer, of the New England University Transportation Center and MIT’s AgeLab, regarding the NHTSA’s role in the current and future state of autonomous driving technology.
Read this quote, and then we’ll discuss:
Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced. They will cause unprecedented job loss and a fundamental restructuring of our economy, solve large portions of our environmental problems, prevent tens of thousands of deaths per year, save millions of hours with increased productivity, and create entire new industries that we cannot even imagine from our current vantage point.
The author goes into a great deal of predictions on what is to come for the future of cars that drive themselves, even going so far as to say the majority of car purchases won’t be by individuals, but by car-sharing and transport services like Uber and Zipcar.
Thirty years ago, eight in 10 Americans ages 17-19 had a driver’s license. Today, it’s six in 10.
That’s the lead to a story at ScienceDaily, which goes on to give lots more stats about the decrease in licensed drivers in this country.
Many teens today don’t care whether they drive or not, and that percentage will probably just continue to drop. In today’s world, when kids can drive on Xbox and instantly connect to friends through technology, the need and desire to move about in the real world is diminishing.
While that’s great for the safety of America’s teenagers, it’s terrible for our car culture. In 20 years ask a guy about his first car, and he’s likely to respond, “A 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia, from GranTurismo on my old Xbox 360.”
Add Google’s self-driving cars to the mix, and car passion is at serious risk.