The time when a driver can sit back and tell his car where to drive itself is getting closer every day. Self-driving cars (also called autonomous vehicles or driverless cars) promise new levels of efficiency and take driver fatigue and inattention out of the safety equation.People often worry about driving and the risks involved with just going on a daily drive. Not specifically their driving, but the potential of reckless and careless drivers all around them. Imagine if there was the technology to no longer have to worry about other drivers while also dramatically reducing the chance of accidents. The stress this would take off the parents of teenagers. Parents would no longer have to worry about if their child made it to their destination safely, they wouldn’t have to worry about traffic back ups in big cities and arriving late to their job. The technology for self-driving cars is very promising and the benefits of them prove to be highly substantial and far outweigh the cons, which include safety concerns due to the lack of human involvement. Google’s self driving cars will improve safety and reduce traffic in large cities. Although many people feel as if self driving technology isn’t needed or even more endangering than human control, studies have proven otherwise. The technology involved and incorporated with self driving vehicles is currently advanced enough for vehicles to be placed on commuting highways, but this technology is always being worked on and further developed to increase safety even further.(“Harris”) Each of the manufacturers involved is always trying to outperform the other and try to be the best, which in return helps the rate at which the technology is improving. Believe it or not humans aren’t as reliable and always able to stay as focused as a “robot” or computer would able to. Although computers are able to stay on task unlike humans, computers lack one essential thing that humans possess, the ability to make decisions. Imagine it’s a cold and snowy day, the roads are icy and a self driving vehicle is cruising the streets like it does any other day, but this isn’t any other day. Out of nowhere a pedestrian walks out into the road oblivious to the “robotic” car headed down the icy road towards them, how will the vehicle react? Is human interaction needed? These questions are the questions that plague companies who are invested in Self Driving Technology. In normal conditions, self driving cars have been proven to be much safer than human operated vehicles. Google’s self driving vehicles have been involved in 13 minor fender-benders in more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving — and still, not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident. (Ross) Google, just one of the few major companies working on self driving technology, has spent a large amount of money improving and developing their technology. Google spent $1.1 billion on developing its self-driving software and hardware, according to a recent deposition of Shawn Bananzadeh, a financial analyst at Waymo. Google also has been working towards fully self-driving cars that make it safe and easy for everyone to get around. Their journey started at Google in 2009, and they became Waymo in 2016. Tesla, another huge company focused on self driving technology, has arguably the most advanced technology to date. However Tesla nor Google has the number one spot in self driving technology. This spot belongs to Ford. The Big 3 automaker has been pursuing autonomous vehicles since it entered the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005. Ford also announced that it will partner with Lyft on self-driving vehicles. Navigant Research gave Ford an overall score of 85 out of a possible 100. (Dallegro)Many people, like anything, else have negative feelings about self driving vehicles. They feel that taking the human factor out of the equation and putting a computer in place is not a good idea. Human beings are more prone to mistakes and lost focus than computers are. It’d be rather difficult to distract a computer from what it was designed to do. Computers aren’t foolproof nonetheless, but this is why the technology is being so strenuously worked on. Self driving vehicles do not only have the potential to increase safety but they also have the potential to save people money. Fuel efficiency will go up. Driverless cars will communicate with each other, eliminating the needs for slowing down and stopping at every intersection. Insurance premiums will go down. Insurance estimates that self-driving cars could save consumers an average $1,000 per year, given their near perfect safety record. People won’t get any more tickets. With a driverless car, people will never have to worry about having to pay for subpar driving or worrying about traffic laws, since the car itself will be making such decisions. The reduction in tickets is expected to be so great that local governments are concerned about the potential drop in their revenue. People may not need more than one car per family. Even though majority of families own multiple cars, they don’t use them at the same time. A driverless car with a “return to home” mode would eliminate much of the need for the second car, since the first car could simply drive itself home to take the next family member where he or she needs to go. Self driving vehicles are a very promising outlook for the future. The safety benefits of this technology cannot be ignored, industry analysts seem pretty certain that self-driving vehicles will be on the road within the next five years and commonplace a decade after that. Society may not be prepared enough currently for autonomous vehicles but they will be a large part of the near future.