July 20, 2017

Autonomous Car Accidents Raise Questions About Their Future

Recent news has revealed that several autonomous cars were involved in accidents. It begs questions about the safety parameters of these vehicles. It raises yet more debates about controversial measures to introduce these cars into society.

Autonomous vehicles are basically self-driving cars designed to cut out driver error. The purpose of the vehicles is to reduce the number of traffic accidents on the road. The thought being that human error is more accountable for accidents than mechanical failure. This follows the story of a motorcyclist who won $155,000 compensation following an accident. The accident got caused by a driver reaching for their phone. And they accidentally reversed into the motorcyclist.

Due to the injury lawyers the person riding the motorbike won an enormous settlement. This sort of incident represents an excellent example of human error and is just the kind of thing autonomous cars are meant to avoid. Furthermore, car accidents cost the state billions of dollars each year. So to cut down on these costs it seems like self-driving cars might come to prominence in the future.

It’s a big step in trying to shape the future of the automotive industry. First we had electrical vehicles, which then evolved into hybrid ones. Now, driverless cars seem to be the next stage in the evolutionary process. The idea appears to be to get us to a point where we use cars less. And when we do use them they’re free of all the problems associated with driving, i.e. emissions and accidents.

954px-Google's_Lexus_RX_450h_Self-Driving_Car

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The problem is that driverless cars seem to be as much a hazard as regular cars, if not more so. Without a driver, sure the element of human error gets removed. But, it also means that there is no decision-making process. A car does not have artificial intelligence, and thus can’t make split second decisions like a human. And this could lead to all manner of problems somewhere along the line.

Of the autonomous cars involved in the accidents, three belonged to media giant Google. They, of course, claimed the cars weren’t responsible. Instead, they point to collisions being caused by drivers. Thus absolving the driverless cars from blame. Whether this is true or not remains a moot point, as details of the accidents are not revealed.

So, it seems that the future may still be as unclear for driverless vehicles at present. There is debate over the point and purpose of them. And until it can be proven that they reduce the risk of accidents there will most likely be question marks over that too.

In the meantime, people will have to make do with the selection of cars they have. Besides, it seems unlikely that autonomous cars would function well as a minority vehicle. In this day and age, they would need to be something embraced by the masses in order to work. Then there could be some kind of system on the roads where the cars could work out safe distances. And they could communicate with one another to map out routes.

While self-driving cars remain a minority, there will always be clashes between them and drivers.

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