JaneWed2.30_2003_18 MDIA2003_18 MDIA2003_VoxPop_18 MDIA2003Wed2.30 Science Technology

Driverless cars: Vehicles of the future?

Written by: Tania Tan

Until self-driving vehicles are fully on the market in Australia, questions regarding the safety of such vehicles for drivers and pedestrians alike will continue to persist.

Opinions on driverless cars are relatively positive as driverless cars are expected to be powered by smart technology that may keep the roads safer.

Image: Rachel Jelwan, 19, thinks that transparent research on driverless cars will make them more trustworthy

“I think they’re a good idea because there’s a possibility that they can reduce accidents and fatalities on the road,” said Rachel Jelwan, 19, a student from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

However, with such positive expectations, some have raised issues of it possibly being “risky” or “dangerous”, and not all are for driverless cars.

Image: Kaylie Archer, 19, thinks that it’s essential to ensure that driverless cars are safe

“Seems risky and dangerous, but if it is safe enough, it can be quite a convenient option,” Kaylie Archer, 19, a student at Western Sydney University said.

Image: Jen Kwok, 23, prefers to have control over the wheel

“I’m thinking of getting a car soon actually, but I would prefer normal cars,” Jen Kwok, 23, a UNSW student said.

“I don’t think I will get a driverless car even if I could buy one, or even sit in one.”

The worry that driverless cars may be “risky” or “dangerous” may have stemmed from worries about technology and whether it is really smart enough to trust.

Image: Zhang Yuran, 21, thinks that driverless cars make for a very efficient alternative

“I’m definitely willing to trust it and I want to try it in the future, but still, I feel that technology can’t replace humans so we shouldn’t fully depend on it,” Zhang Yuran, 21, a student from the University of Sydney said.

Though self-driving cars are not common on the streets yet, people seem to generally think that there is space for improvements for better trust and reliance on driverless vehicles.

Jelwan said: “I’m willing to trust them if there is research behind the cars and that research is available to the public.”

Zhang also said that if the technology used could be improved to be more environmentally friendly, driverless cars could be the vehicles of the future.