Self-Driving Cars—Safe or Not?

There have been many articles over the last few years discussing the pro’s and con’s of  self-driving cars.  Most agree that the technology at this point isn’t perfect by any means, with many bugs still needing to be worked out.

Since there are so many variables at play in this technology, even Google, who first developed the concept and technology with it’s subsidiary Waymo, recognizes that there are still many things to be worked out to get vehicles up to a “Level 4” automation.  This is where humans don’t have to take control of the vehicle at any time due to the vehicle being able to perform all safety-critical functions.

auto stiegler team photo
self-driving cars

Right now, it appears that the technology is up to Level 2, which is basically the level where a human would have to still take control of the vehicle in certain situations (i.e. if a dog jumped out into the road would the car swerve into oncoming traffic causing a collision or just stop abruptly?). Orlando Auto Body has the techs capable of doing fleet collision repair Mesa!

Here are some of the advantages to consumers for self-driving cars:

– Self-driving cars could possibly reduce the rate of motor vehicle accidents caused by human error. 

– There could less traffic congestion due to people preferring to use ride-sharing options like Uber and Lyft who are currently developing fleets of driverless cars.

– These cars use sensing technology to determine safe speed, acceleration, braking and the ability to make turns—while at the same time anticipating and evaluating other vehicles’ actions. It’s robotic maneuvers wouldn’t be prone to knee-jerk reactions that humans have.

– They can detect how close they are to another vehicle and make adjustments accordingly, thus preventing a lesser possibility of collision.

There are however,  still many concerns regarding this technology.  Below are just a few of them:

– The vehicles’ ability to respond to emergency situations, such as in the above-mentioned scenario.

  People putting their lives in the hands of robot technology. This sounds a little like science fiction but is very real and fast-approaching.

  Hacking threats.  Because these cars would be essentially connected by Wifi there is—as there is now for any car that has internet capability—the potential to be hacked.  Hackers from anywhere could speed up or slow down the vehicle or even disengage the braking system, among other threats. 

– There hasn’t  been enough testing done on the cars to cover all potential scenarios for safety.  Again, as stated above, Google admits they are not at Level 4 capability yet.

    Although the technology isn’t perfected yet, the above-mentioned benefits show us that Waymo and other companies developing self-driving cars are making strides to get autonomous vehicles on the roads. However, as you can see, the disadvantages of the current level of development shows that companies have a ways to go to make this a reality.

There is much debate about the timeline for self-driving cars to dominate the roadways with many believing this will be the norm for transportation in the next couple of years. Whatever the timeline is, most agree, it will be a reality and will dramatically change the way we travel in the near future.