Pros and Cons of China's Driverless Cars
When it comes to driverless cars, Elon Musk's Tesla, Google and Apple have found competition in China. The Asian country is adamant to be the first in the race to produce the smartest self-driving car in the market today. They have recently debuted a prototype of a driverless car. Although advanced, the world market expressed their reservations due to the imminent advantage of China.
In an interview with BBC, car expert Prod David Bailey of the Aston Business School said "There is a lot more going on in China than many in the West have realized."
Aside from Tesla and Google, Chinese companies dominates the production of driverless cars, main players are Changan, Baidu which is an affiliate of BMW and Geely which is a partner of Volvo.
According to BBC, car makers aren't the only ones working on this technology in China. Universities and researchers in China all contribute to this ambitious project of making the first driverless car.
Prof. Baily said "Both in China as well as in the West this will be a technology that will creep up on us." He added that we can expect this technology to drive through the streets in about ten year's time.
And amid all worldwide companies aiming to be the first, China seems like being the second is not what they're aiming for.
What are the pros of driverless cars?
For one, autonomy in streets without the aid of a human intervention is one advantage. It might also drastically lower the air pollution in China and in the world.
What are the cons or disadvantage if driverless cars proliferate in China
According to Bloomberg, although it's an advantage to Chinese companies, they deem it as a drawback due to the transport system in China who is known to one of the world's most dangerous roads with a recorded 261,367 road deaths in 2013 in a report by WHO.
The number of cars on the road is another thing. In China, there's an equivalent number of death per a number of car ratio. That's why in aiming for driverless cars, regulations should be set and strictly followed.
Bloomberg also quoted Bill Nelson during the Senate commerce committee hearing on driverless cars, he said "One small defect could lead to a massive safety crisis...We must ask difficult policy questions and have frank discussions on what can go wrong and what can be done to prevent it."
While in a post by the Wall Street Journal, they also recognized the fact that having driverless cars on the streets can effectively save fuel consumption. It can also drastically reduce the cost of driving and it can also expand the transportation options for teens, the elderly and the disable.
But according to them, experts did not officially conclude if having driverless cars are all advantageous. They said that further studies should be done to discover the effect of this new technology to the carbon emissions, fuel consumption and alternative energy used.
To be able to do so, more prototype should be tested, until then, the market can hope that this technology will offer more pros than cons so that car makers can manufacture driverless cars with the security of the people accepting their products.