“First we shape our tools, thereafter they shape us”
– Marshall Mcluhan
Autonomous driving is just around the corner and autonomous vehicles (AV) are starting their engines. The Tech-giant Google pioneered the field and consequently the automotive giants followed. A company that plays a major role in the scene is Nvidia which provides the hardware for the autonomous vehicle systems followed by MobilEye with a smaller market share.
Potential advantages of autonomous vehicles are: Safety, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimated that “widespread use of autonomous vehicles could “eliminate 90% of all auto accidents in the United States, prevent up to US$190 billion in damages and health-costs annually and save thousands of lives.” Welfare, by having an autonomous vehicle driving you to and from work will free a substantial amount of time in a weekly bases in the estimate of 10 hours at least. Calculating in the equation the time the average family drives to and from school and for chores this estimate reaches roughly 20hours per week or 2 hours and 51 minutes per day! Traffic, a thing of the past? Spill over benefits of autonomous driving are the higher speed limits, smoother rides and increased highway capacity thus minimized traffic jams. Cost, by having greater transportation efficiency fuel cost will reduce furthermore insurance cost will reduce also based on the 90% decrease of car accident. Related benefits, since car shared economy will eventually emerge there will be no need of owning a car thus production will decrease consequently freeing parking spaces and transforming the cities and creating an overall less polluted environment in global scale. The last but not least is that cars will be no longer a mean of transportation during criminal activities since the autonomous vehicles and the highways will be intertwined into an integrated system.
On the other hand potential disadvantages are: The devastation of the professional driving-related jobs, the impaired privacy of mobility and the ethical issues that arise on the action the car takes in an unavoidable crash.
“SCOT known as “The Social Construction of Technology” theory!”
The autonomous vehicle innovation in the transportation industry is a case of social constructionism because of the gradual introduction and shaping of the technology and the gradual adaptation and adoption patterns by society with early adopters playing the role of relevant social groups. There is an element of interpretative flexibility on the level of autonomy the user will select to allow the vehicle to control. Lastly, stabilization over time will take place since the gradual evolution of the technology will enable societal and economic forces to reach an equilibrium in the transportation industry ecosystem!