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Student Views: Self-Driving Cars

Written by: Communicator StaffApril 21, 2018

Written By: Ben Bailey

A woman in Arizona was killed after being struck by a self-driving Uber vehicle on March 18.

The car, which was an Uber-owned Volvo SUV, was traveling at around 40 mph when Elaine Herzberg stepped out into the road and was hit.

Herzberg died from her injuries the next day.

Despite the public outcry about Herzberg’s death, Uber is still planning to utilize self-driving cars in their company.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the accident was “an absolute tragedy,” but also said the company is still commited to self-driving cars.

Herzberg’s death, along with a slew automotive companies announcing innovations in autonomous driving technology has lead some to question the future of roads populated by self-driving cars.

While some have embraced self-driving vehicles as the logical next step in automotive innovation, others are skeptical about the safety and practicality of fully autonomous vehicles.

Washington Post contributor Robert J. Samuelson argues in his Sept. 24 opinion article that the development of self-driving vehicles should be handled slowly and cautiously.

According to Samuelson, the biggest threat posed by self-driving vehicles is the possibility hacking technology could be developed to harm to passengers.

While nearly every major automotive industry continues development and testing on self-driving cars, IPFW students weigh in and offer their thoughts and apprehensions.

“I think that self-driving cars can be dangerous in city settings where there’s a lot of traffic. I think that in the future, they can get better. But, they’re not the right option for society right now.”

-David Scott, sophomore, psychology

“Right now they scare me, but with enough testing and with enough time put into developing them they are going to become a useful aspect in society.”

-John Warner,  senior, music technology

“I think there’s goods and bads to the idea of self-driving cars. I think that right now we are not up to the capabilities to have self-driving cars. I think that it is a little scary in a lot of public areas. But, as technology gets more aligned, it might be a good idea.”

-Tim Willborn,  senior, business management

“They don’t scare be because I’m in the engineering field and for them to allow something like that in the market then they’ve done their research and everything they need to to. There is a risk involved in it, but it is a step up in technology. I think the sooner we embrace it the better.”

-Chat Gamba, senior, electrical engineering