Have some scientific endeavors completed a full circle – from innovating the wheel to driverless cars?

Volvo, Tesla, BMW and many more are working with tech innovators like Google, Apple, Intel etc. to turn the prototype into the bona fide driverless car. Volvo’s “Drive me UK” and nuTonomy’s prototype trial in Singapore are significant steps in this direction. Technological pillars include LIDAR, Radar, Artificial Intelligence, GPS etc. among others. A panacea to problems urban traffic system experiences daily, the driverless car will not only save driving time for daily commuters but also will make the car more accessible for the elderly, differently abled, etc.

Even if there are positives, automated cars still must get through the test of social acceptance. Concerns like the ability of autonomous vehicles to accurately assess risks and make the best decision has greatly been questioned. Also, the effect of a driverless car on already shrinking job market might pose a serious concern in emerging economies. Besides, accentuating on the epic level job losses, Transport Minister of India confirmed that India is not in favor of the driverless car in near future.

Will the driverless concept offset the ongoing debates? The technology can also be seen as job creators – hi-tech mechanics, software developers and new infrastructure builders. Also with further research car manufacturers can identify a moral algorithm that will simultaneously incorporate the public’s collective view while at the same time, ensure that individuals are protected, to give them the confidence to invest in self-drive cars.

Thus, like all other innovations in the past, the driverless car too must face several bumps before hitting the smooth road.