Driverless Cars: An Indian Scenario – By Bhamini Vispute
Reviewed By – Akash Goel
Remember the time when, after a really busy month, you finally were on your way to a hill station and in the journey, your family spotted a series of elegant lush green mountains and a sparkling waterfall flowing gracefully down the slope? Oh and not to forget the breath-taking mist over the mountains! Yes, you had missed all of this just because you had to fix your focus on driving!
And that night my friend when, after a happening party with colleagues, you had to keep your beautiful car parked on the streets overnight and book a cab back home!
Fast forward to today’s scenario, and just imagine that you own a driverless car.
The next morning when you were already late for work, you realized that you had a presentation to deliver to your clients. But hey, don’t you panic!
You can sit back, relax and make your presentation while your new car safely drives you to work!
Also next time on a family picnic, you won’t be missing out on the scenic beauty and will definitely not have to be bothered about leaving your car on the streets after a party!
Climbing up the next step on this thought ladder, what if all the cars on the streets are replaced with the latest technology driverless cars? Can one beat the level of efficiency and safety the roads will then provide! Almost all road accidents pertaining to speeding, inexperience, slow reaction time, alcohol, drugs and aggressive driving will be practically eliminated.
Efficient travel will eventually lead to fuel savings, cutting costs.
Anyone and everyone would be able to experience the freedom of car travel!
All said and done, the question remains, Is India ready for this technology?
First things first, these new technology cars would be highly unaffordable for the ordinary people and if both the traditional and driverless cars are to coexist, then Indian roads are going to be in a big time mess!
The driverless car is after all a machine and a machine when gone wrong, can cause worse crashes than any human error can bring about.
Take Pune for instance, there is a security check up at the Hinjewadi Chowk and you are stopped by, by a cop but your new car couldn’t differentiate between a cop and a pedestrian and drove over him!
Also, what if the GPS system in your car is not updated about an ongoing construction work and hits the “NO ENTRY” or the “ONE WAY” sign itself!
Believe me, you’ll be in a big time trouble!
In case of a car crash, who is to be blamed? The car owner or the software owner?
An all new set of traffic rules and legal laws would have to be devised and implemented.
Other challenges would include difficult weather conditions which could deteriorate the functioning and ethical conditions like choosing between running into someone or going off a bridge.
Digitalization has just started to take off in the country and already various cyber threats and attacks are hitting different organizations! At this rate, will it take any time for hackers and crackers to get in control of a vehicle?
In major Indian cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, and Chennai where a number of vehicles itself is a big issue, driverless cars would further elevate the traffic problem.
At this time when cab services industry is at its peak, implementing this technology will result in millions of drivers losing their jobs.
It is difficult for any technology to navigate through the challenging and chaotic Indian roads.
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Roads and Transport, India rightly said that “Maybe some years down the line we won’t be able to ignore it, but as of now we shouldn’t allow it.”
It is wise to wait for the country to get accustomed to digitalization and also for the driverless car technology to establish itself!
< Featured Image Courtesy: https://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NT061_Driver_J_20160427110048.jpg
Content image courtesy: https://allresourceupdates.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/indian-police.jpg