Over the past few years, technology advancements has made a large impact on individuals’ lives such as making them almost addicted to their cell phones. This research paper aims to assess whether or not self-driving cars should be legalized. Countries have different perceptions towards the issue; that is, some believe that it should be legalized because it would be a lot easier for the driver and human error percentage will decrease which should decrease the number of accidents. While other countries claim that it is against the law as a result of multiple accidents. This paper will assess the issue from a global perspective by including countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Australia and Germany. National perspective will also be considered; by assessing the case in Egypt as it is my home country and local perspective will also be investigated through a school survey and my family and friend’s opinion.
Self-driving cars are finding the easiest ways to showrooms in the Germany, United Arab Emirates and Australia, as governments have achieved regulation which allows self-driving vehicles to be test-driven on mutual roads. Some countries have banned these self-driving cars in result of multiple accidents. But that was because of human error in which the driver interferes in the auto-pilot system and the result was crashing into a human being which caused her death. In the United Arab Emirates, the Roads and Transport Authority of the Government is taking the driverless to a higher level by enforcing the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy begun by the Vice President, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai City. This plan visualizes that 25 percent of all the population of Dubai travel will be driverless by the year 2030. There’s an estimation made by investigators that self-driving automobiles could reduce traffic accidents up to 90 percent, by the middle of the century. That’s according to experiments which have shown that most of car accidents are a result of human error. The World Health Organization has shown that around 1.2 million traffic accidents each year all around the world. According to AL-TAMIMI & CO., (Andrew Fawcett, 2017)if self-driving cars can convey on their ability to decrease the amount of disastrous accidents, this new technology will rank amongst the most outstanding popular safety programs in present-day history.
Safety is definitely a key consideration when it comes to autonomous vehicles. (McGill, 2020) Autonomous systems inclusive of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems will have a significant influence in Australia, where studies from Monash University and Austroads estimate that the introduction of the network will avoid up to thirty percent to fifty percent of road deaths.
In Germany, (Kandal, 2017) it is a lot easier for manufacturers to test their autonomous cars than other countries as shipping the cars to get tested in the United States of America is not necessary anymore. There are some regulations that the German government has put in order to legalize autonomous vehicles. First thing is that the driver must be in the car all the time when the autonomous car is moving and he always needs to be ready to handle the car at any time when needed which ensures the driver will perform activities that do not take too much attention, including reading their emails. Second thing, they decided that all autonomous cars must have a black-box which is similar to the on planes and that is to record the travel log , who was taking control of the car all the time, either the driver or the operating computer and the last thing is when the car asked the driver to take control of the driving. In case of an accident, the black box is crucial as it will document whether the human or the system was in charge. Third thing is the liability which is, if the driver fails to proceed to the vehicle’s warn to take control then the liability in this case will be on the driver. In another case, the vehicle’s manufacturer will be liable and the driver could be discharged if the vehicle’s system broke down. Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice has been somehow hesitant to implement this latest series of laws. It contemplated that the car should be driven by a human always and not by a machine.
In Egypt, (Egypt Innovate, 2017)there are a lot of traffic jams due to large number of cars and high population and there is a huge number of businesses which demand transportation services all over the country. Moreover, traffic rules are totally disregarded, making the streets dangerous for novice drivers. Egyptians think that autonomous cars must be legalized because they would fulfill the shortage of transporting services. Such self-driving vehicles will also pay strict compliance with traffic rules, resulting in a secure, congestion-free, and a safe driving atmosphere for the Egyptian people. I made an interview with an ex-manager at Mercedes-Benz Egypt and he was saying that it’s a really good idea to have self-driving cars in Egypt because it will make it a lot easier to people who are not so experienced with driving. He also said that car journeys would be a lot quicker because there will be no severe traffic jams as there is now. But he mentioned that self-driving cars still can’t go on the Egyptian roads because the automotive safety regulations are still not strict enough and roads still need to be reconstructed. There are some highway roads that do not have lane lines which is a disaster because cars keep crossing over the street causing accidents. He also mentioned that there are roads still under construction and can not be seen by the satellite and self-driving cars function by satellite. He ended the interview by saying that such technology would be really expensive and people will not buy it an there are also taxes and customs that are huge amounts of money. So this will make it impossible for people to purchase these self-driving vehicles.
Through a survey that I made and sent to my friends, family and school colleagues, I collected the local perspective because I want to know what my local people think of this technology. So, my survey consisted of eight questions and the first one was “ Do you think self driving cars will make journeys faster ?” because I wanted to see what they think about how faster can their journeys be and the results were fifty six percent answered “yes” and forty four percent answered “no”. Second question was “Will they be safer than normal vehicles?” and their answers were thirty six percent “yes” and sixty four percent “no”.
So I tried to see their opinion on the fourth question which was “Do you think self-driving cars should be legalized?” and their answers were sixty eight percent “yes” and thirty two percent “no”. In the fourth question I chose a different method and asked “ In case of an accident, who should take the responsibility ?” and twelve percent said “the car” which means it should be taken from the owner, thirty two percent answered “the driver” which means he should be sued and the rest fifty six percent said “the car’s manufacturer” which means they face legal confrontation. The fifth questions was“Do you think automotive safety regulations are enough or could be improved?” as I wanted to know what they think of the safety regulations and eight percent responded that they are strict enough and ninety two percent said that it could be improved. My sixth question was “ How much have you heard about self-driving cars ?” and their responses were twenty percent said that they have heard a lot, as well as twenty eight percent said that they heard somewhat a lot, forty eight percent said that the do not hear much about self- driving cars and four percent said they have not heard at all. My seventh question was to test if they think it would be safe enough or not and it was “ How safe would you feel being a passenger in a self driving car ?”. Four percent of them answered that they would be extremely safe while forty four percent said that they would be somewhat safe ,as well as, forty percent said they would not be so safe and twelve percent said the would not be safe at all. Eventually, the last question was “ How likely are you to purchase a self-driving car once the technology is fully developed ?” and they responded as twenty eight percent saying extremely likely and thirty two percent as somewhat likely ,as well as, thirty two percent that answered “not so likely” and the last eight percent said not likely at all.
In my opinion, I think self-driving cars should be legalized because they would be a lot of easier to people. Imagine yourself sleeping in a driver seat while the car is driving and you do not have to worry about the traffic or safety because the car takes care of all of this. At first, before conducting this research, I was a bit confused about self driving cars and I did not think it is a good idea to own one ,but after what I have learnt, I think it should be the next step for all people. I think that autonomous cars would journeys faster because if regulations are organized there will be no traffic jams. I guess they are safer than normal vehicles because it has its systems that are organized and there should be no human interfering in its systems. In case of an accident, it should be analysed, if the driver interfered with the system then he should be sued but if it’s a problem in the car, the car’s manufacturer should be responsible. The automotive safety regulations are not strict enough still to make autonomous vehicles legal and I guess it should be improved. When all the safety regulations are improved I will feel very safe in a self-driving car because all the cars on the street will be following rules so, I won’t have any worries about crashing.
When I reach the legal driving age, I would be extremely likely to buy a self-driving car because it’s much safer than normal cars. Based on the secondary sources used such as the “Avoiding Legal Liability Obstacles on the Road to Autonomous Driving” journal written by the expert Andrew Fawcett, the answer to the question is NO as they would make driving easier and safer.
Problems and Courses of Actions
I have faced a multiple problems during this research such as having shortage of sources in the global and national perspectives. Especially in the national perspective, as self-driving cars are unknown in Egypt and when I found one source, it was not so useful, so I had to meet with an ex-manager at Mercedes Benz in an interview. I think the government must take actions to improve the automotive safety regulations by following other countries that have self-driving cars and copy their rules. The government could make an advertisement to raise awareness about following the rules in order to allow autonomous cars on the roads.
- Andrew Fawcett. (2017). Technology, Media & Telecommunications. UAE: Avoiding Legal Liability Obstacles on the Road to Autonomous Driving, 1.
- Egypt Innovate. (2017). Automotive. Self-driving Cars, 1.
- Kandal, P. (2017). Germany’s Self-Driving Cars Legislation May Be the Best One so Far. Car Makers Can Now Test Self-Driving Cars on the German Roads, 1.
- McGill, B. (2020). How to Market The Driverless-Car Experience. Safety First, 1.