Are Self Driving Cars Going to Ease Transportation Issues for Disabled People?
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There was a time when self-driving cars were the source of science-fiction, being seen in popular movies such as “Total Recall” and “Minority Report”. However, recent advances in technology have made the self-driving vehicle a reality.
Right now, there are several auto manufacturers who are testing out their versions of self-driving cars and while it still may take years for them to be licensed and legal for the roads, they are quickly becoming a reality.
You can check out how Google’s self driving vehicles work as an early rider.
Purpose of Self-Driving Vehicles
Every year, tens of thousands of people die in auto accidents on American roads and the overwhelmingly primary cause is human error. By taking out the human element in driving, it is believed that almost all types of auto accidents will become a thing of the past.
Of course, there will be an interim period where both driver and driverless vehicles are on the road, but at some point in the future, it will all be driverless. This means saving lives and advantages for those who are disabled.
Will Disabled People Benefit?
In addition to saving lives, disabled people who cannot drive standard or modified vehicles will have access to transportation that is free of requirements. This means that if the disabled person can get into the vehicle and provide the destination, they will have the transportation and the additional freedom of relying on themselves and not others to get them around. Car insurance for disabled drivers is usually on the higher side which is another burden on these people.
There has been some development in the creation of vehicles for those who are disabled. Some of the vehicles incorporate a wheelchair, allowing the driver to literally roll into the vehicle from an open hatch in the back right up to the steering wheel.
Hand-operated controls remove the need for foot-pedals and heads-up displays put all the necessary information in front of the driver to remove distractions. The development of driverless vehicles will still incorporate some of the changes needed for disabled people to enter and exit the vehicle.
There will still be challenges, especially if the vehicle itself needs to be modified to allow for a disabled person to enter. This means specialized vehicles which may cost more than standard models. Or, specially modified vehicles that do not allow for passengers which may be limiting as well. However, it also means that people who could never legally drive, such as the blind, now can get around on their own.
While driverless vehicles are the promise of the future, there is still much to be worked out before they become legal on the roads. The time it takes will depend on the development of new technology, the establishment of a grid that helps guide driverless vehicles to their destination, and the acceptance of the public who will be turning over the driving chores to a machine.
For disabled people who are unable to drive even modified vehicles, but can communicate where they want to go, it means having the freedom to get around on their terms without having to rely on others.