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Driverless cars: the future of the low-carbon economy?

Posted by: Charis Fisher 5 Sep 16  | Climate Change |  Sustainability

The phenomenon of driverless cars has caused mayhem worldwide in recent months.

What is certainly the biggest advantage of such modern technology is that safety could be improved and carbon emissions could be reduced with the introduction of self-driving vehicles.

The Google-led coalition between the tech giant and taxi-hailing app services expressed its own stance on the debate on more widespread autonomous driving in July:

“Self-driving technology will enhance public safety and mobility for the elderly and disabled, reduce traffic congestion, improve environmental quality, and advance transportation efficiency.”

Automotive companies are being challenged to develop technology that will make our cars more energy efficient, with the need to reduce carbon emissions an issue that is increasingly being discussed and supported by governments worldwide.

Just recently, 175 countries agreed to significantly reduce carbon emissions as the need to take action on climate change becomes increasingly urgent. However, the desired outcome will only occur if technological advances are accompanied by social change.

We need to develop and utilise technology to a greater extent to better both our environment and our society. Although the idea of autonomous cars sounds appealing, this does not negate concerns surrounding their safety on the road.

Indeed, May this year saw the first ever death in an autonomous car. A man sadly died as his Tesla, functioning in autopilot mode, hit an articulated lorry. This incident has increased existing scepticism around letting pilot mode control the safety of your vehicle and yourself.

For Steve Yianni, Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) CEO, society’s dynamics are changing and today’s generation is leaning towards a more automated use of transport. This should present an exciting opportunity for automotive companies involved in low-carbon vehicle development to get greener, more efficient vehicles on the road.

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