The concept of self-driving cars is taking off as many companies are entering the race, but many consumers have one question on their mind, are self-driving cars safe?
Self-driving cars have a lot of modern-day technology built-in, from smart sensors to real computer machines, they are packing heat! They are equipped with sensors that can monitor your surroundings as the car is driving by, and react very quickly to many situations. However, recently Uber was involved in a controversy when one of its self-driving cars failed to recognize a pedestrian and struck her in impact. With that event, people have begun questioning these automakers and companies on the safety of these vehicles, not only just the driver’s, but also the general public’s. Can we trust these vehicles on the road?
There is no simple answer; points can be made supporting either side of the argument. However upon digging further into the issue, here are reasons why self-driving cars are safe –
There is no doubt to say that human drivers aren’t safe. Though the majority of the drivers on the road drive responsibly, statistics show that 90 percent of all accidents involve human error. A fatal crash only requires one person behind the wheel.
This is where self-driving cars come in. Self-driving cars have been programmed with many safety features. One of the elements has to do with their speeds. Self-driving vehicles always maintain the speed limit and rarely exceed it by a significant factor. This reduces rash driving on the road by a lot and puts fewer people in potential danger. Speed is one factor contributing to a lot of the accidents, and you can expect these cars to be reliable on their own.
Not only that, but humans are the reason why self-driving cars seem safer in the grander picture. These cars follow the law and act accordingly and technically. You will never see a self-driving car road rage (hopefully) when it gets cut off by a speeding car, nor will you see it perform irresponsible, dangerous stunts such as brake-checking. They don’t provide a whole lot of room for error. They drive under the law and follow the basic systematic rules. Unlike us where we want to cut corners and try new things when driving, these cars are always focused on one thing, the road, and are responsible for their actions.
Self-driving cars present to us innovation in the automotive industry. They house many technologies that ensure that the driver remains safe when the car is in control, and most of them are smart sensors that are capable of tracking many things.
For some people, self-driving cars can react faster than the driver itself under an unplanned situation, such as a surprise pedestrian on the road, or potential impact with another vehicle. Many people fail to react quickly to whats in front of them on the way, whether its cause they’re distracted with the radio, looking at the scenery, or just slow, self-driving cars do not tend to have this issue. They keep track of everything that is happening a certain distance ahead of the vehicle, and if they spot an anomaly, they are quick to react with their protocols.
All sides of the cars are fitted with sensors that keep track of the position of the vehicle on the road. This means, your vehicle will always stay in the center of the lane and won’t start drifting into someone else’s lane if you don’t pay attention. This also ensures safe merging between roads, and more importantly, cars maintaining a safe distance between one another. We fail to keep a gap between the car ahead of us to cut time and make sure we’re able to cross the signal, and far too many times people have gotten into accidents because this does not give them enough time to react to whats happening in front of them. Though this seems like a simple feature that comes with the car, the ability to keep a distance away from the next vehicle increases safety for both vehicles.
The algorithm that is programmed inside the computers within the cars will continue to improve, and the cars will get more mature. Though in limited visibility an actual driver would make better-informed decisions than the car, over time with the growth in technologies, eventually these cars will be able to do the same. That’s just one scenario.
With the events that took place in Arizona, what many people tend to forget is that these vehicles are currently in testing. They are not available for purchase yet because the companies are still working on them and their components. The main point is to avoid a situation like that when it releases to the public. Testing is being conducted for this exact reason, to make mistakes, learn, and improve/adapt. Whatever happened in that scenario in Arizona, Uber, along with many others, will take it into account and improve their vehicles immensely.