Autonomous vehicles are vehicles that are
able to guide themselves without the need of human conduction. Autonomous cars
use various kinds of technologies: they can be built with GPS sensing
knowledge, may use sensors and other equipment to avoid collisions, and have
the ability to use a range of technology known as augmented reality to display
information to drivers (https://www.techopedia.com/definition/30056/autonomous-car).
Autonomous vehicles are useful for many reasons first they eliminate human
error and distraction which is a major cause of current vehicle accidents.
Also, instead of having to focus on driving passengers can now spend their
commute time on work or leisure activities. Overall commute cost and energy
consumption effects go down as well. Autonomous vehicles are already on some
roads around the world, although still only permitted in certain testing
locations and driving conditions. “Cars are already driving themselves on roads
in California, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.”(https://qz.com/943899/a-timeline-of-when-self-driving-cars-will-be-on-the-road-according-to-the-people-making-them/).
The exact amount of years it will take for autonomous vehicles to be more of a
common sight is still not one hundred percent certain however. “If you read the
papers, you see maybe it’s three years, maybe its 30 years. And I am here to
tell you that honestly, it’s a bit of both.”(https://qz.com/943899/a-timeline-of-when-self-driving-cars-will-be-on-the-road-according-to-the-people-making-them/).
Truck drivers and taxi drivers are some of the more obvious people that will be
affected by the introduction of autonomous vehicles since the vehicles no
longer need drivers to control them to their destinations. Another group that
would be affected by autonomous vehicles would be the police. “Four out of
every 10 police encounters are traffic related, and traffic stops are the most
common single way that the police engage with their community. Cops will go
from grossly underfunded to suddenly having 30 percent to 40 percent more time”
Overall, autonomous vehicles will probably have a major impact on transportation
engineers in the coming years up to and following their implementation. Road
standards would probably change as less accidents happen due to human error.
The need to change posted speeds would reduce because the autonomous vehicles
would be going the speed limit at all times. In the extreme scenario that all
vehicles become autonomous, things like sight lines, and signs meant to guide
drivers may no longer be necessary.