There’s been a lot said about how self-driving cars can change everything we know about commuting and driving. Until recently, the concept seemed like a mainstay of science fiction, but advances in technology have made this prospect far more viable than ever before.
Autonomous Vehicles Now
Many modern vehicles already have a degree of autonomy. True, it isn’t to the degree of an autopilot system where the driver is entirely unnecessary. Still, autonomous systems have found their way into vehicles as safety features or ways to increase convenience.
One of the most blatant examples is self-parking vehicles, which will take the wheel when the driver wants to make a parking maneuver. These make difficult parking situations far more accessible and less stressful for nervous drivers and reduce the risk of unfortunate scrapes and bumps.
Many other vehicles have self-driving systems to improve safety. The driver can control these, but they include braking systems that kick in when the car senses an imminent collision. Other methods include blind-spot detection, which finds obstacles that may be unseen by a human driver, and systems that prevent the vehicle from drifting out of a lane.
Self-Driving Cars and Safety
An auto accident is one of the most significant risks of driving a vehicle. Even a minor collision can result in physical, mental, and financial challenges as those involved recover. Unfortunately, auto accidents are also a leading cause of death worldwide.
As there are more and more cars on the road each day, these risks only increase. It makes sense, therefore, that safety is a primary concern of anyone seeking to purchase a new car, autonomous or otherwise.
Some have expressed concern that autonomous cars aren’t as safe as vehicles that drive entirely manually, but the self-driving car accident rate suggests the opposite. While these vehicles are relatively new to the scene, statistics already show that these vehicles are far less likely to cause a collision. Moreover, in many cases where there has been a collision, the fault is a human error rather than malfunctioning systems.
The Future of Self-Driving Cars
Currently, self-driving cars are mainly limited to vehicles that have autonomous systems to assist the driver. However, autonomous cars without drivers require a human operator to be ready in an accident or an emergency.
However, as AI systems continue to improve, the likelihood of more fully autonomous vehicles on the road rises. So the technology is essentially there; part of the issue is whether humans can trust and accept the idea of fully driverless vehicles on the road.
Some people enjoy the act of driving. However, there’s a difference between sitting passively in a vehicle and behind the wheel. Many people are, understandably, uncomfortable with the idea of handing their lives to a computer. This is especially true when you consider the rise in cybercrime, which means that someone could potentially hack a vehicle. Because of this and other reasons, allowing people inside the car to override the computer is important.