August 29, 2016
One of the great benefits of self driving cars is their safety, but their safety is being questioned after a fatal accident on May 6, 2016 in Florida when a Tesla Model S electric sedan was in self drive mode. The Tesla, with Joshua Brown, 40, aboard, failed to detect the side of a white tractor trailer against the bright sky, so ran into the truck and killed Brown.
This is the first major crash of a self driving car. Before the incident, Google prided their self driving cars on being safer than cars driven by humans. One of Google’s platforms for a long time was that a self driving car had never been in a bad accident, but this takes the credibility of that statement away.
Are self driving cars safe? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error is said to be the cause of 94% of crashes, but an automated system making human choices may be no better. Since the Google self driving car project launched in 2013, the cars have been in more than a dozen accidents which were all human related, but humans have also stopped the autonomous cars from 13 accidents the programming would have caused. Also, these cars could have many problems such as conflicting censors, hacking, and electrical issues.
Humans will probably have to accept self driving cars into society very soon, but it is important to know just how safe you can be in one of these vehicles. In self driving cars, a human needs to be attentive to be able to steer the vehicle out of a dangerous situation the car could not detect itself. While self driving vehicles may be a new pathway into the future, we should also be cautious of possible mishaps and take over when the computer system is misguided. At least for a while, humans should stay involved in driving.