Self Driving cars and their relevance in India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

  • Self-driving Cars use the latest technology and it must be borne in mind that the latest technology is not always appropriate for society.
  • The difference between the latest technology and appropriate technology is the fact that the latter meets the most pressing needs of society. And the former is a luxury.
  • So in a country like India, which has problems pertaining to clean energy, environment, and unemployment, how do we place self-driving cars?
  • SDC (Self Driving Cars) or AVs are potent enough to push away humans from steering the wheels. This will obviously lead to problems of unemployment and job losses due to automation. Thus, the Indian government is abstaining from ushering in the technology in the Indian Market. This leads us to the reason behind the foreign players abstinence from viewing India as their potential market.
  • AVs are not cost competitive as compared to internal combustion engine. This is accompanied by problems in infrastructure. India has poor road and transport infrastructure, and this might lead to roadblocks in updating grids and networks for a shift towards electric transportation.
  • Driverless cars will be marred by problems and speculations when it will come to an assessment of an accident (if it was due to a manufacturing defect or some programming glitch/coding defect or cyber-attack tampering with the system).

AVs will pose complex privacy issues. How?

These vehicles will be running on huge volumes of personal data and preferences. This makes it important to get protection under privacy laws which at present might not be too suitable given our comradeship with technology and its nuances.

  • The automotive players and the lawmakers must be prepared to address these complex and legal issues before venturing into this.
  • The Indian Motor Vehicles Act 1988 does not allow fully automated system. The law has no clause for permitting testing of AVs in India presently.
  • Although the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has proposed testing, (still to be considered in the house), it will need to revise a lot many aspects of the law to allow licensing for trails and an all-comprehensive guideline for safety while operations of the AVs in India.

Nevertheless, these challenges haven’t discouraged Indian players like Tata, Mahindra, and several tech start-ups from working on the AV technology. What are the reasons behind this?

  • The AVs are being touted as being the way out from accidents and chaos of roads and long hours of travel.
  • Self-driving cars, which will take the steering wheel away from humans, are being touted as a way to prevent huge numbers of traffic accidents, quiet the chaos of the roads and dramatically improve travel times. 
  • Among the technology’s greatest benefits would be a likely reduction in the horrible smog caused by city traffic — with fewer vehicles being needed and designs that make them lighter and more fuel-efficient.  And car-sharing, which would be a fraction of what car ownership costs, will provide mobility to the poor, the disabled and senior citizens.
  • A probable reduction in smog with fewer vehicles which will be lighter and fuel efficient. Accompanied by this, the concept of car sharing (notwithstanding the cost advantage this shall have over car ownership) will give an impetus to mobility for the poor, disabled and senior citizens.
  • AVs would also give us hope for better road and transport infrastructure, town planning, network and wireless connectivity in India.
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