Research round two - are self driving cars worth all of the ethical problems they cause?

This round I will be looking at: What are the benefits of self driving cars, how do they impact the world in a good way and when can we expect them to be implemented? 

My last research round was: what are the ethical problem associated with self driving cars?


The benefits:

I chose to look at the benefits because last research round I looked at all the problems with it, and it was all pretty negative. I know that there are many reasons that self driving cars could be beneficial, so I wanted to take a look at that.

A while ago I posted a survey that some of you may remember. I also a question that could be used for this round, so I figured there was no need to create a new survey. I asked people what they thought personally would be the benefits to self driving cars. These are the answers that I got:


you can do other stuff in that time, most car crashes are due to human error so taking that out could potentially save a ton of lives
i think that in extreme cases if someone had heart attack or fell asleep or something crazy, then potentially it could same you, but I'm not sure if it automatically would turn on so if it does not then i the end i don't see more benefits than dangers
gas savings; the elderly; safety
There won't be as many crashes. Drunk driving will not be a problem because the cars are driving themselves. It would definitely lower crash rates.
It is the future! They are the next step to innovation.
It would give you time to work during commutes
It would be beneficial when it is perfected and little to NONE problems arise from programming of it. The design of who to protect should be both: as life cannot be outweighed by another person's life. Eg: President 1, or 5 people?
Prevention in car crashes
Increases accessibility for people with both physical and mental disabilities


I found some of these extremely interesting, and they are full of good points. I particularly took an interest I the one that mentioned the reduced risk of drunk driving and the one that mentioned increasing accessibility for people with physical and mental disabilities. 

I found an article online that explained how many people with disabilities have been offered to use paratransit services. Paratransit services is like a shuttle or a taxi provided by the government to help people with mental and physical disabilities get around. The people can make reservations in advance for the paratransit service to pick them up. Though the government is forced to provide this, it is very costly. In order to "solve the problem", they have made the areas in which paratransit operates smaller and have asked people with disabilities to take mass transit instead if possible.

I never thought about how it feels to have disabilities and have to take mass transit, especially since busses and sky trains can get super busy. It would be uncomfortable for anyone with mental or physical disabilities to be on a crowded ride for long. It's even uncomfortable for people with no disabilities! 

I found another article written by Srin Madipalli, a man who has been in a wheelchair for almost his whole life. He really gave me a new perspective on how hard it is to get around when you are disabled. He told his story about being stuck in the rain for a very long time, and then stuck in his office for hours. I really never knew that it was such a problem!

Another thing that I noticed was that there were a few people who said that self driving cars may reduce the amount of car accidents that happen. I found this to be true. The McKinsey report states that car accidents will be reduced by 90%, and 190 billion dollars would be saved (in the USA). 



We can expect self driving cars to be implemented pretty soon. It is estimated that in 2020 consumers will slowly start to buy self driving cars. By 2030 it is estimated that insurance companies will develop a plan for self driving cars, after sale services will be reshaped, and supply chains and logistics will be redefined.   By 2050, it is estimated that self driving cars will be the primary mode of transportation. All of this information is provided in the picture below:

Photo via McKinsey & Co.


My opinion:

The benefits:

I personally do not agree with the fact that self driving cars would free up a lot of time for people. Many people say that if you didn't have to drive, you could work in the car, but realistically, who would work on their way to work? Since most jobs are based off of hours you spend at work rather than how much work you get done, so I do not see the benefit in doing work in the car. That only works if you are paid according to how many things you get done in a day. 

However, I believe that it still would be very beneficial, because it would make life easier for parents. They could just send the car to pick up their kids, or the kids could "drive themselves" to school. I would be very convenient. 


I think that 2020 is a bit to early for people to start using self driving cars because there are still so many problems with the cars. I feel that they need to be perfected before we deliver it to consumers, but that's just my opinion.


Thank you for reading my new post, and any feedback is welcome whether it's opinionated or fact based. Thanks! 



Original Post

Thank you for such an interesting read!

Everything was very understandable, and I quite like how open you were with your research process. Would you look more into interviewing people who would be massively affected by a change like this? I think it might add a very personal look into this project.
P.S I take public transit, and while I admittedly don't get much homework done on the bus, I find it a pretty nice place to practice mindfulness and meditation (which definitely affects my work and health positively) 

Good luck with your future research!

Thank you for such an interesting read!

Everything was very understandable, and I quite like how open you were with your research process. Would you look more into interviewing people who would be massively affected by a change like this? I think it might add a very personal look into this project.
P.S I take public transit, and while I admittedly don't get much homework done on the bus, I find it a pretty nice place to practice mindfulness and meditation (which definitely affects my work and health positively) 

Good luck with your future research!

Hey Jasmine!

Interesting round! I like that with all your research and facts you showed us your own personal opinion. I never thought that this could be a topic with so much information and I like the diagram you used. I like how you spoke about the problems of transit for people with disabilities and how these cars would benefit them. This round was informative and I enjoyed reading it. For your future rounds maybe you could show us how these cars actually work. I find it very interesting how these cars will function and how they will see the road. Best wishes for your future rounds.

-Sienna Saunders

This is a great round!

I personally have done lots of research on artificial intelligence, where self driving cars are a big part of it.  A  main concern is the fact that there is a possibility it can be hacked into, so In a case of that important people or items are being transported  from one place to another, like maybe people being transported to prison this could have serious repercussions.  

I really liked the idea of being able to work while commuting somewhere. As humans we spend so much time getting from one place to another so if we could utilize that time, we could become much more productive.  Something to consider however is the physiological aspect, personally if i was the only person in a car, i don't think i would be able to actually focus on work knowing that no one was driving and i was just relying on the car.  So just a a thought on maybe something you can look into!

some links:

Great research

 Hi Jasmine! 

 Great research, the concept of self-driving cars is pretty interesting and honestly a little scary. It's good that you're looking into something that will likely alter our future drastically. I can definitely see benefits with self-driving cars: a computer can't get drunk, it can't get angry or upset, and it can't get distracted, so many factors that cause car accidents would be taken away. I can also see a lot of issues with self-driving cars, though. 

 In terms of your question, I think the answer is also based on what your morals are. Whether or not self-driving cars are ethical depends on what you believe in, as well as what other's values are. 

 Good luck with your research! 

Hi Jasmine! 

This was really interesting to read. I learned a lot of information about opinions of others and the benefits that could be attained from it. You organized everything in this post very clearly and it was very easy for me to understand the points given throughout the research! 

Also, I liked how you included paratransit. In fact, whenever I am walking home from school, I will sometimes see these types of shuttles. It is now very interesting that I got to learn a bit more about them and how the government provides them. I did not know that! 

Overall, awesome work, Jasmine. Perhaps in your next round of research you could incorporate the cons of self driving and perhaps contrast both opinions. I think this would be great way for readers to help get a feel of both perspectives. 

Here is a source I found that could potentially help you: 


I am excited to see what you have in store for us!

Hi Jasmine- thanks for the intriguing read!

I learned a lot about the opinions from others on these cars, and I liked how you based your replies off of the responses and continued from there. I think it's a nice touch, and also a way to show that you're actually reading the replies. 

I also learned about paratransit- I didn't know that this existed before and I like the idea of it! The necessity for it is there, and I think self-driving cars could be a good alternative for that. I also didn't know that self-driving cars are coming to us so soon! I agree, though, with your opinion on the fact that self-driving cars wouldn't necessarily make more time for work. They may, however, free up time for other no-job related work such as scheduling appointments, paying bills (just the time, not the money) and other, more household type work.

I think for your next round, you could look at why self-driving cars are coming into the future- its kind of the same thing as this round, but I think more direct.

Wonderful job! Good luck! 

Hi Jasmine!


    I really enjoyed this one because it gave me some point to convince my parents to think of getting one haha. I think all the things you listed off are super important, especially drunk driving, the amount of fatalities from it are insane ‘In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.’ (  You mentioned that it would be a beneficial thing when it is perfected, do you think that people shouldn't be allowed to drive the self drive cars until they are perfected? Do you think that the age limit of driving would change due to these cars? You mentioned the things about people with disabilities and how this would be a life changer, I thought was a really  strong point, I have never really thought about that before, and I never realized it would save that much money! I'm really looking forward to read more of you research!!


Jadyn ~ LFAS

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