Are Driverless Cars Really Safer?
Innovations and advancements take place every year in every industry, but perhaps one of the most interesting areas of development is the automobile market, where manufacturers and designers are constantly searching for ways to improve our vehicles, making them safer, more fuel efficient, and easier to use, whilst keeping up with the technological advancements in the wider world.
The latest technology and the genius of manufacturers and designers has lead us to an era of driverless cars, something that was once the fodder of sci-fi films only. They are becoming more and more of a reality, with some research predicting as many as 20 million fully autonomous cars on our roads by 2025, but one pertinent question is on everyone’s minds – are they safer than traditional cars?
Statistics suggest that of all traffic accidents that occur on the roads, 93% of them are a result of human error. By replacing traditional cars with driverless ones, human error should be removed and the roads should theoretically be safer.
One potential issue with the system is the rigorous testing that would be required in order to guarantee the driverless vehicles are as safe as they can be. The Research and Development (RAND) Corporation, suggested that these cars would need to be driven hundreds of thousands of miles before their safety can be fully guaranteed, and obviously this would be incredibly time consuming.
One of Google’s driverless cars was recently involved in a small collision with a bus, an incident which was attributed to the driverless car and test driver “believing the bus would slow or allow the Google vehicle to continue”. Google has since pledged to make their cars “more deeply understand that larger vehicles are less likely to yield to us than smaller ones”, showing just how detailed the programming can be.
Driverless cars are now a reality, and despite the thousands of hours of rigorous testing, naturally, people have concerns. However, this testing is what will allow the developers to refine their systems and ensure that these autonomous cars are as safe as possible – of course, being in control of your car is perhaps more reassuring, but these autonomous cars are no flash in the pan – they have been in development for years and their safety is the number one concern for all manufacturers.
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