Questionable Safety Of Autonomous Vehicles
Four of the 48 self-driving cars that are currently navigating the streets of California have shown that humans are yet to achieve road casualty. This is after these supposedly unmanned vehicles failed to keep a clean record in the past nine months of operation. These crashes have strengthen doubts whether autonomous vehicles are ready for wide spread adoption.
To help in its development, the state of California has authorized companies to use their roads to test autonomous cars. Such tests started on September of the previous year, and since its implementation, two accidents already occurred while the automobiles were in self0driving mode. Another two occurred when drivers were operating the wheel. What is interesting to many onlookers is the fact that each accident happened when the car was going under 10 miles per hour. This raised many eyebrows as people wonder what would happen once they start to go faster. Despite this, no one sustained any injuries. Three of the cars belonged to Internet giant Google, while the others are properties of Delphi Automotive.
While four accidents have already confirmed by the Department of Motor vehicles, it did not disclose any more information about other details. This is because of a strict policy regarding collision reports, which are confidential in California. The fact that such information is not available to the public has made several individuals worried, questioning the integrity of the safety features put into the car. They argued that they should inform the public.
A law professor at the University of South Carolina who has written extensively about autonomous technology named Bryant Walker Smith issued a statement, stressing that interest in accidents involving self-driving cars will remain high, particularly if the car is at fault.
Smith said that, “For a lot of reasons, more might be expected of these test vehicles and of the companies that are deploying them and the drivers that are supervising them than we might expect of a 17-year-old driver in a 10-year-old car,”
Another professional also expressed his insight about the cars. A venture capitalist and early investor in Uber, Bill Gurley said that people will normally expect higher safety standards from autonomous cars because technological malfunction is less likely to be forgiven by public than human error. This puts tremendous pressure on manufacturers, increasing its effort to come up with a safer cars.
Gureley stated in an interview that, “I would argue that for a machine to be out there that weighs three tons that’s moving around at that speed, it would need to have at least four nines because the errors would be catastrophic,”