The Latest on Self-Driving Cars
The History of Self-Driving Car Mishaps
With the launch of Google’s six self-driving prototypes in 2010, things have progressed rapidly. Tesla, Mercedes, Nissan, and other car companies all have their own versions of driverless technology and are constantly improving their vehicles. As of 2016, advanced semi-autonomous features allowed drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel. By early 2018, Uber and other companies were testing self-driving vehicles in specific areas (i.e., college campuses) and select cities. With millions of test drives under their belt, it seems as if self-driving vehicles are on track for global use. But are they really safe enough for widespread use?
In February of 2016, Google’s self-driving car caused its first crash when it put itself in the path of a bus while changing lanes. A safety driver inside of the autonomous vehicle saw the bus coming but thought it would slow for the AV. Because both the bus and self-driving vehicle were moving at a slow rate of speed, there were no injuries.
A safety driver was in the vehicle, but video footage shows that he was distracted and looking at his phone as the car navigated itself. Though the pedestrian was crossing at a part of the road where there was no crosswalk, the self-driving vehicle’s sensor should have detected her presence. The vehicle never slowed to avoid impact. Uber has since settled with the victim’s family and suspended test driving on public roads.
Even with these driverless vehicle-related tragedies, it seems as if the move towards driverless vehicles isn’t over. The California DMV is still proposing a pilot testing program that will allow self-driving vehicles to be tested with and without drivers. Though it seems some companies, like Uber, will be out of the game, others will march on.
Even with recent events, we hope that self-driving vehicles will eventually advance to the point that they reduce the number of collisions each year. Until then, Orlando Auto Body will be here to handle all of your collision related repair needs.