IELTS Model Essay: Driverless Vehicles

This week’s IELTS model essay is on the topic of driverless vehicles. It’s a 2-part, or IELTS direct question essay from the General Training Test. It is taken from Cambridge IELTS Academic Book 16.

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?

Cambridge IELTS 16 Academic Test 4

This is on the topic of transport. Specifically, it’s about driverless cars, buses and trucks. In other words, vehicles that do not have a human driver; instead, they are driven by computer. You may have read in the news about companies like Google developing driverless cars. It’s a controversial topic!

Image by Grendelkhan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I must admit, this is not a topic I’ve thought about much, so I had to think hard to get some good ideas. Overall, I think there are advantages to driverless vehicles because they should be safer than human drivers, but it will also lead to job losses.

My Essay

Recent years have seen the emergence of technologies to develop vehicles that can effectively drive themselves, and this may eventually render human drivers redundant. On the whole, I think that the benefits of this development will outweigh any drawbacks.

Automated vehicles have the potential to massively improve road safety because they could massively reduce accidents caused by human error. People are prone to making mistakes, often caused by getting tired or distracted while driving, leading to serious accidents. Computers which control vehicles don’t suffer from these weaknesses, and so as long as they are programmed correctly, errors like these should be eliminated. For instance, cars can be made to brake automatically in emergencies or if the distance from the car ahead is too small. Admittedly, we occasionally hear of fatalities caused by driverless vehicles being tested, but these are statistically insignificant when compared to deaths caused by human error both now and in the future.

An additional benefit to driverless vehicles would be a reduction in transport and haulage costs since there is no driver to pay. This would make food and other goods cheaper. For example, a major factor in food prices in supermarkets is the wages paid to delivery drivers.

However, there is a downside to this since drivers would lose their jobs. In modern economies, tens of thousands of people are employed as HGV drivers, as well as drivers of taxis and delivery vans, so the widespread adoption of automated vehicles would have a major impact on job opportunities. Nevertheless, this problem can be mitigated against with investment in training and job creation in other areas.

In conclusion, I do feel that despite the job losses it will entail, the benefits in terms of cost and road safety makes driverless vehicles something to welcome.

(297 words)

About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.