Wouldn’t it be great if we could read the paper, return emails and enjoy coffee while our cars drive themselves to our destination? This reality is closer than many Americans think. The ease of having your car drive you home from work when you are tired and just want to watch a show or read an article seems overwhelmingly satisfying. Many car companies are promising fully autonomous vehicles by the year 2020 or even sooner.
What does this mean for your personal safety?
The challenge for regulators, safety advocates and the drivers in general is managing the transition from humans driving cars to fully autonomous vehicles. As with any new technology, there will be several hurdles to overcome—one of the biggest being “SAFETY.”
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Admonistration (NHTSA), Americans crashed more than 5.3 million times and injured 2.2 million people in 2011 alone. A NHTSA study revealed that most crashes were the result of “driver error.” About 40% were a lack of attention, internal, or external distractions; 34 percent were poor decisions by the driver, either driving aggressively or too fast. 10% were performance errors, while 18 percent were in conversation with a passenger or on their cell phone.
Autonomous vehicles don’t make human mistakes, so there is evidence that completely autonomous driving will decrease that number of collisions. Traffic would become obsolete and driving at rush hour would be much faster.
However, if a collision did occur, who is at fault? The passenger, the owner, the manufacturer—or all three? These are all questions and concerns that need to be worked through prior to fully autonomous cars hitting the road.
If you have any questions, contact us at www.newhollandautogroup.com