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The switch to autonomous vehicles is alluring. Being a lean manufacturing professional, I see the waste in our current condition. This includes loss of life and property in traffic accidents to removing wait time in transportation. The benefits for this transition are astounding.
Safety: There are over 30,000 annual traffic deaths in the US of which 94% involve human error. The potential of eliminating over 28,000 traffic fatalities is the goal for this transition. The heath care cost alone represents $190 billion per year. Ideally, this is the main social-economic goal for this program.
Improved quality of life: This includes both disabled and non-disable drivers. For disable drivers, the promise to go where you want without assistance will eliminate more waste in the system and allow for the customer to act like any other customer. This improves the quality of life for these individuals by eliminating any restrictions imposed on their ability to be mobile. For non-disabled drivers, this allows for the customer to be transported to where they wish and perform other tasks such as for business or leisure.
Reduced congestion: There are many studies to promote the efficiency of autonomous drivers and reduced cost to the system. This includes accidents, non-efficient driving, road rage, and better route selection. The byproduct of this effect will include fewer roads needed for transportation usage, less road maintenance, and overall better usage of roads.
As we can identify, the new trend of autonomous vehicles provide a way to eliminate the waste in the system identified by society as areas to improve. To assist with this transition, please inform yourself on this development to make an decision to improve your and everyone’s life.
Gary Kapanowski – Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Excelsior
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