The invention of the automobile by Karl Benz in 1885 (Bellis) was an enormous step for man kind and technology. In the United States alone, as of 2008, the national average of vehicles per household is 2. 28 ("Auto Spies"). Google, however, currently attempts to revolutionize the car by making it driverless. These driverless cars generate both positive and negative outcomes on society. The Google car creates equal opportunities for those who cannot drive. Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, states that “Too many people are underserved by the current transport system. They are blind, or to young to driver, or too old, or intoxicated” (Naughton).
These people that Brin refers to are currently incapable of operating a vehicle and have a dependence on others for transportation. In the near future, once the Google car becomes legal, those people will no longer require the assistance of others to get around. This invention could free the unable and dependent by giving them the self-sufficiency of driving. In addition to the independence the car will bring, it also promotes safety since “40,000 people are killed every year in road accidents in the US and many, if not most, of those are caused by human error” (Naughton).
Those who pose a threat to others on the roads will no longer generate worry for safe drivers. Senior citizens that should no longer have a license will be able to get around without the possibility of them causing an accident. This car also solves the drinking and driving dilemma that plagues our streets. “In 2007 alone, about 13,000 wrongful deaths occurred in fatal car accidents with drunk drivers” ("Law Offices of Michael Pines,APC"). Now, the intoxicated with be able to get to their destination safely without being a danger to themselves or others.
In spite of the positive effects that the Google car produces, it has negative effects as well. Once the federal government officially approves the car’s production for consumer use it will cause economic instability and increase the unemployment rates. “Google’s self-driving car represents the next wave of job-eliminating technology, many skills that were hitherto deemed secure (such as driving) may be devalued and night eventually become worthless, at least in the job market” (Naughton). Some of the jobs Naughton refers to are taxi drivers and chauffeurs. These jobs will become obsolete in a world where cars operate by themselves.
These self-sufficient cars will ultimately supersede the skill of driving that humans have taken for granted for decades. Google’s revolutionary invention offers both positive and negative influences on society. Clocking in with more than 300,00 miles, and 50,000 of those miles without any intervention from a human driver (Kelly), the car is still in the prototype and testing phases. It will take some time before the car is cleared for mass production and consumer use. Google, throughout its career, has continuously set milestones for technology and innovation. With this invention, Google creates a potentially promising future for technology.