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Abstract

Since the establishment of the commercial automobile industry in the late 19th century, vehicles have evolved and improved in safety and convenience. Car developers have invented new driver assistance systems such as automatic braking and acceleration and automated steering. The research on autonomous driving has taken shape since the 1980s when it was first demonstrated. The most remarkable milestone in the field was experienced in 2010 when four self-driving motors traveled from China to Japan. In addition, Google celebrated a significant achievement by publishing the information that its driverless automobiles had completed 300000 miles with no accidents reported. Several surveys have been conducted to understand various aspects and concepts of the field such as the system’s cyber security, ethical dilemmas, traffic efficiency, pollution, and law. This article will review different studies in the auto industry through addressing research questions and a final summary of the enquiry.

Self-Driving Cars

Introduction

Transportation of individuals and goods has been essential in modern society. As the urbanization increases and the world population skyrockets, additional traffic is created, which has significant negative impacts. Insufficiency of a proper transit system makes humans incur unnecessary costs in monetary, time and safety terms. The quest for a more efficient, equitable and secure movement system is crystal clear. Thus, this urge can be best met by the development of a robotic transportation mechanism. The automobile technology has evolved from the horse-drawn carts to the ultra-modern self-driving vehicles. Robotic cars have been predicted in fiction films for a long time. For a couple of generations, they have revolutionized technology and catalyzed the world of economic growth (Fraedrich, Beiker, & Lenz, 2015). A driverless machines also referred to as a self-driving car, is an autonomous vehicle that performs human control activities, as if a person were driving an old motor. The system is free from individuals’ dependence and only requires programming and monitoring. Moreover, to operate, the automobile is designed to use technology such as GPS, radar, laser and computer vision.

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The driver-less invention is provided in luxurious technologies where the passenger only requires to key in the destination. They are equipped with sensors that prevent the cars from colliding with other motors, objects or people on the way. Sensors are installed to scan the surrounding areas of the vehicles to avoid crashes while the GPS, laser and radar systems track and control the automobile’s movement. A communication technique is devised for short-range car-to-car and vehicle-to-object interactions (Chaudhry, Seth, & Sharma, 2014). Therefore, these developments ensure the safety of people with no human intervention required.

The intentions of autonomous transport engineers are to improve traffic efficiency, reduce road accidents, solve the problem of environmental pollution and meet all the legal standards in the transport industry. However, there are several concerns about self-driving vehicles regarding their online safety, traffic efficiency, ethical dilemma, pollution control and legal compliance. Such cars have changed the transportation systems in the world. Numerous works of literature seek to study the development of this technology and the related concepts as outlined in this paper.

Research Questions

Research Question # 1. What are the issues related to self-driving cars’ cyber-security safety?

Remote controlled and technological devices are prone to cyber-attacks. It is, therefore, important to evaluate the cyber-safety issues that a system could face. Autonomous vehicles are prone to malicious attacks to reduce their efficiency.

Research Question # 2. What ethical dilemmas arise with the development of driverless machines?

The advancement of autonomous transport comes with moral issues. The concept relates to safety of passengers and pedestrians. It is necessary to address those concerns to ensure security and acceptability in the society.

Research Question # 3. How do self-driving cars meet traffic efficiency needs?

The primary goal in developing robotic vehicles is to increase productivity in transportation. The traffic efficiency notion of this technology has to be studied to evaluate the benefits. The level of effectiveness in terms of speed and accessibility determines the market demand.

Research Question # 4. How do driverless automobiles tackle pollution issues?

Pollution from traditional vehicles is a major concern in the world. Manufacturers and researchers conduct studies to elaborate systems that reduce the level of contamination in the environment. Thus, these modes of transport have to be pollution free in order to be accepted in the society.

Research Question # 5. What legal concerns do self-driving cars have with the law?

Traffic and transport laws were established before discovery of robotic motors. The article seeks to identify the measure taken to incorporate the technology in the current legal system. It is necessary to adjust the contemporary statutes to meet the new demand.

Literature Review

This section of the paper will evaluate the available literature on self-driving cars. The examination of the researchers’ objectives, methods and findings will be conducted. Furthermore, the article will discuss possible critics concerning the studies.

Self-Driving Car Cyber Security Safety

Autonomous vehicles use the most revolutionary monitoring, tracking and control technology. Robotic cars are tailored with numerous sensory devices such as radar, LiDAR, and cameras, to enable remote awareness of their environment. An entirely automatic automobile will solely depend on the sensor data to make immediate safety decisions and planning for long driving sessions. However, cyber security issues emerged with the development of robotics. In this situation, sensors and technological devices have to be sophisticated to withstand and avoid accidental or planned cyber-attacks that lower the sensory ability, distort data and damage the automation system.

Petit, Michael and Kargl (2015) conducted the research on remote attacks on automated vehicles sensors through experiments on the camera and LiDAR devices. The former is installed for various purposes such as lane and vanishing point detection, pedestrian and other traffic identification, traffic lights as well as headlights detection. The LiDAR device is used to recognize objects, their proximity, and type. The objectives of their study were to identify the various types of cyber-attacks that the autonomous vehicles encounter. They tested the camera susceptibility to blinding and LiDAR possibility of jamming. In the controlled laboratory environment, the scholars experimented on the camera by introducing excess illumination to disable objects detection. They also used fake traffic lights to examine how this device would be fooled to reduce its efficiency (Petit et al., 2015).

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The results on camera blinding were as expected. The findings showed that using close infrared items can reduce the ability of visual recorders to detect objects. Confusing the auto controls can be employed to delay the adaptability of the motor thus making it vulnerable to entities before it stabilizes (Petit et al., 2015). The attacks on LiDAR showed that it is possible to send false signals to the car to make objects appear closer or further than their actual distance. Furthermore, they made it possible to miscalculate the proximity and size of the item, pedestrian or other vehicles. Consequently, their study was adequate and offered solutions to the problems identified such as modifying the cameras and LiDAR systems to prevent attacks (Petit et al., 2015). However, they did not elaborate on the type of modifications required and their effectiveness.

Self-Driving Cars Ethical Dilemmas

Autonomous vehicle technology developers face significant ethical dilemmas during programming of the autos. For instance, there are more than a million road accident deaths reported globally every year (Bonnefon, Shariff, & Rahwan, 2016). The aim of the manufacturers is to reduce the mortality rates, especially in the US. One of the ethical dilemmas of the self-driving car is whether to sacrifice itself and the occupant to save pedestrians or kill the latter to secure the passenger.

Bonnefon et al. (2016) identified the major challenge in developing an algorithm that will enable the robotic vehicle to morally decide whether to run over a pedestrian or abdicate from its own as well as sitter’s safety. They conducted six online surveys in the US between June and November 2015 to test the utilitarian algorithm of the autonomous transport. Hence, this theory advocates that the robotic car should swerve and kill the passenger to save pedestrians. However, the study results showed that 76% of the respondents voted for these types of motors while 24% rejected the argument. Their main reasoning was that it is morally wrong to kill ten walkers and save one person in the automobile. Unfortunately, the developers of such driverless equipment would decline from buying them. Further critics argued that the primary reason for creating the technology was to secure the occupants first. The government, the manufacturers and the buyers of such means of transport are the only parties that can help solve ethical dilemmas that surround this machine.

Self-Driving Cars and Traffic Efficiency

Traditional human driven cars have been cited as the most inefficient systems of transportation. The primary argument for replacing them with driverless cars is to make the operations of urban traffic more practical in conveyance. Therefore, this efficiency rate would be achieved by reduction of vehicles’ congestion, speed, accessibility and capacity. It would also lower the rate of accidents by eliminating the instances of human driving errors.

Shi and Panos (2016) conducted the assessment of the Level of Service and capacity enhancing opportunities of driverless transport to establish its efficiency of traffic. They held case studies on two types of self-driving machines, which were Connected DLC (driverless cars) and Autonomous DLCs. The results of the research indicate that such motors were faster and more productive in the traffic situation with shorter headways. In lower shares of robotic autos, the levels of service increased to more than 15%. The findings also outlined the growth in efficiency by 30% with a high proportion of the vehicles. Thus, these conclusions imply that with a high traffic of autonomous transport on the roads, the efficiency rate rose significantly. The HCM-based outcome shows that few DLCs will improve the productivity of freeway operations on basic and weaving segments. Driverless cars enhance the effectiveness and traffic flow through their sensing ability and automation system (Shi & Panos, 2016).

Self-Driving Cars and Pollution

Global warming has been a concern to many world economies. Human-driven vehicles that are fuel powered have been associated with a significant proportion of contamination. They consume gasoline that produces carbon gasses, which are harmful to the ozone layer. Consequently, global high temperatures rates have increased to the alarming level. Pollution has also caused poor quality of air in the main cities of China, Japan, and other industrialized countries. The primary objective of driverless automobiles development is to reduce environmental degradation. The robotic machines are anticipated to be fuel-efficient and emit fewer greenhouse gasses compared to the traditional transportation systems (Glancy, 2015).

Glancy (2015) stipulated that self-driving cars could lower the level of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Citing requirements of the Federal laws in America, the author noted that the robotic transport must be in a position to reduce fuel consumption; thus, she advocated for clean energy. Autonomous vehicles use technologies such as wireless communication, eco-navigation and electric charging systems that increase efficiency and minimize the rate of negative environmental effects. They also lower the extent of fuel wastage in traffic jams. In addition, the writer argued that driverless automobiles could diminish the amount of emissions by driving closer to each other. She supports the idea using the aerodynamic principle of distance between two moving cars. Moreover, pollution-free autonomous motors continued to evolve by adapting the electric and solar charged systems technologies (Glancy, 2015).

Self-Driving Cars and Law

The transportation industry is guided and regulated by various laws and norms such as insurance and quality standards for vehicles. Hence, these policies have been implemented for centuries before the development of autonomous cars. Self -riving machines are the latest advancements in the field; however, they are not incorporated in the legal system. For instance, when such newly introduced means of transport kills a pedestrian driving along the streets, and there are no statutory provisions to approach the accident, it becomes difficult to establish the responsibility under the law.

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In his report, McCormick (2016) noted some legal concerns associated with the robotic vehicles. She stated criminal and civil liability as an allocation problem that will occur between the car owners and the manufacturers. For instance, in the occurrence of a road traffic collision, the cases of negligence would be difficult to determine. In such situations, drivers ought to take control of the auto, but unfortunately, no human intervention is involved in the driverless automobiles. In addition, the issues of product liability might also arise as a result of developers’ fault after breakdown. Adjustments in the current product or contract laws need to be introduced to address the issue. Another notable matter was the insurance policies in order to eliminate the drivers’ products in available services (McCormick, 2015). Moreover, energy and pollution regulations require amendments due to the evolving conveyance system in the world.

Conclusion

The advancement of technology and the quest for more efficient transportation systems around the globe have led to the development of self -riving vehicles. Under full implementation, the system is expected to reduce traffic congestion, minimize road accidents and increase productivity as well as spearhead economic growth. The available works of literature identify significant connections between driverless cars and cyber security, traffic efficiency, law, pollution and ethical dilemmas. The robotic automobiles are prone to the risk of cyber-attacks and unethical conducts that can only be addressed by the manufacturers. The government should design new routes for the pedestrians to avoid unnecessary deaths caused by the autonomous motors. Further studies should be undertaken to address all the legal and pollution concerns that have not been exhausted yet.