Can Indian Roads Make Way for Driverless Cars?

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The advancement of technology has created a huge impact on the automobile industry. Ever since the introduction of autonomous cars by Google, a lot has changed. Major automobile manufacturers like Tesla and Uber have now developed driverless cars.

Understanding driverless cars

Driverless cars, as the name suggests, do not require any human intervention for the purpose of driving. Such a vehicle is designed in a way that it senses the environment and navigates without human input. Autonomous cars are fitted with radar sensors that locate nearby vehicles. They also come with video cameras that identify road signs and traffic lights.Besides, numerous technological systems are deployed to control braking, acceleration, and steering.

The benefits of driverless cars are many. Given that most accidents are caused due to human error, it is believed that autonomous cars will greatly reduce the number of fatalities. Besides, these cars will eliminate traffic jams, boost highway capacity, as well as improve traffic flow.

Present situation of autonomous cars in India

While driverless cars are popular in many foreign countries, the possibility of such cars entering the Indian markets is bleak. Cabinet Minister for Road Transport and Highways Mr. Nitin Gadkari has voiced his opinion on not allowing such cars into the country. He believes that autonomous cars will create a negative impact on the employment industry of India. Millions of Indians are engaged in the driving profession, and the introduction of such cars will only lead them to lose their jobs.

Another major reason for such a setback is the bad road conditions in India. The infrastructure of this developing country is not on par with that of the first world countries. Navigating through chaotic roads, even in big cities, will be a huge issue. This is a country where not only vehicles like trucks, rickshaws, and cycles are found but also cows and carts roam the streets. Additionally, the pothole-laden roads and the lack of proper signage will be a major setback.

Global challenges of autonomous cars

Though autonomous cars have numerous benefits, the question still remains – who will be liable in case of any accident? This comes from the fact that technological systems fitted in self-driving cars have been developed by humans themselves. Automakers will constantly find the need to prove that technological systems installed in the vehicle were not the cause of an accident.

Driverless cars will also have major implications on car insurance companies. Insurance providers calculate insurance premiums based on human characteristics, such as the number of claims made in the past, driving record, and other aspects. However, in the case of autonomous cars, the focus shifts from attributes of the driver to the autonomous vehicle.

As of today, the situation is not clear. There is a possibility that automobile makers may become insurers. The existing motor insurance policy may be replaced by product liability insurance, which will cover risks related to system failure. Thus, driverless cars will have a major impact on automobile manufacturers and insurance companies in the country.