In the future all cars, buses and trucks will be driverless. The only people travelling inside these vehicles will be passengers

Do you think the advantages of driverless vehicles outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Model Answer 1: [Band 8 level sample answer] [View: Advantages outweigh the disadvantages] With the rapid technological development, driverless vehicles are becoming a reality, and within a couple of decades, all cars will run without the intervention of a human driver. I personally believe that driverless cars will bring far more benefits than the possible drawbacks they have.

To begin with the drawbacks, driverless cars pose some risks, including accidents and casualties, should the technology malfunction. Since the vehicles would be run and controlled by software and technology, the risk of devastating accidents due to bugs or hacking could not be eliminated. It will make us more susceptible to hackers and software glitches. An accident, in which a woman died, caused by a driverless car while still in beta mode, caused a great uproar a few years ago. Moreover, not all roads, especially those in poor nations with ditches, holes and insufficient road signals, are suitable for those automated cars to run smoothly.

However, technology-made mistakes are astronomically fewer than man-made blunders when it comes to road safety and casualties, and this is where driverless automobiles can make a significant improvement. Though we point out a single accident made by a driverless car, human drivers are responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of casualties each day all around the world. With the introduction of automated cars, accidents would reduce remarkably making roads safer for all. On top of that, millions of hours could be saved each day since we would no longer need to sit behind the wheel. It will increase our productivity and boost the national economy. In conclusion, driverless vehicles have many great benefits including road safety and economic benefits, and it is expected that we could eliminate the software-related issues to reap the maximum benefits of this marvelous technology. Sample Answer 2: [View: Advantages do not outweigh the disadvantages] Driverless cars, thanks to the phenomenal development of technology, are no longer fiction, but a reality, and it is expected that most vehicles will be autonomous in the future. Despite both benefits and demerits, the writer of this essay does think that the advantages of driverless vehicles do not outweigh the disadvantages. One of the major advantages of driverless vehicles is that they reduce the number of accidents on the road. Such cars provide better traffic efficiency since the driverless vehicles can travel efficiently at an optimized and safe distance from each other by communicating among themselves in real-time, on the road, and by telling which routes to take. It reduces accidents and casualties to a great extent. However, the systems or the technologies, used to operate driverless vehicles, can malfunction or stop working at any time, without any prior notice. And, if that happens, an autonomous vehicle could actually put the passengers in more danger than if a human driver was driving it. Besides, self-driving cars lack the ability to make judgments among multiple unfavourable scenarios and outcomes. For example, let’s say that a self-driving car had to face a situation with only two possible options: one is to veer to the left and strike a pedestrian, and the other one is to turn to the right and hit a tree, potentially injuring the passengers inside the vehicle. Now, since both options are undesirable, which option would the driverless car choose? The Moral Machine, developed by a group at MIT in the USA, is seeking to address this critical issue by collecting data on real-life people’s decisions, but the data collected, so far, shows broad differences amongst different groups of people, making it very difficult to programme any definitive answer for autonomous cars. Thus autonomous cars are good to have but are not great to ride in! So, based on the discussion above, we can fairly conclude that the shortcomings of driverless automobiles outweigh their possible benefits. Model Answer 3: [Band 7.5 level sample answer] [View: Advantages outweigh the disadvantages] The concept that all cars will be driverless has been gaining traction lately as advancements in technology have made it increasingly feasible and demonstrations have already been successful. The idea of a future where only passengers occupy such vehicles is one that has both benefits and drawbacks. However, in my opinion, the benefits of driverless vehicles outweigh the potential disadvantages. One of the main drawbacks of driverless cars is the potential loss of jobs for millions of drivers. This is particularly concerning in industries, such as trucking, taxi service and ride-sharing, where driving is the primary occupation. Another major shortcoming of fully automated vehicles is the potential for hackers to gain control of the vehicle and cause mayhem. This could be a significant security concern, as the technology is still in its infancy, and vulnerabilities may not yet have been identified. On the other hand, several major advantages of driverless vehicles make them an attractive option for the future. To begin with, driverless automobiles are expected to remarkably reduce the number of road accidents caused by human error, as the vehicles are controlled by advanced software and sensors that are less prone to mistakes. Additionally, automated vehicles have the potential to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion, as they can communicate with one another and adapt to changing traffic conditions in real-time. Furthermore, driverless vehicles could also have positive impacts on the environment as they will reduce fuel consumption and emissions, for example. In conclusion, while there could be some disadvantages to the notion of driverless conveyances, the advantages of such vehicles far outweigh the drawbacks. The fewer road accidents, improved traffic conditions, and environmental benefits that driverless vehicles will bring us, make them an appealing choice for the future.