Image: The Atlantic Recently, Uber put self driving cars back on the road , nine months after a woman was struck and killed by one in Arizona. This action represents a very pared down return to the company’s self driving car initiative, and includes many safety precautions.
Still, the decision is a controversial one for Uber. It also brings up many concerns about self-driving cars in general. Namely, are they safe or not? As of now, the answer is a bit complex. Where Does Blame Fall When a Self-Driving Car is in an Accident?
The entire debate on the safety of self driving cars is a bit complex because perceptions can be skewed. For example, when a news headline states that someone was killed in a self driving car crash, the assumption is that it was the technology that caused the accident. That’s not always true. In fact, the overwhelming majority of car accidents in self driving cars are caused by the actions of humans .
Before discussing whether or not self driving cars are safe, it’s important to understand exactly what a self driving car is. When discussing specific incidents with specific vehicles, it’s even more important to know what kind of technology was actually being deployed, as well as any contributing factors. Without that knowledge, people assume that the new and unfamiliar technology is to blame. A Quick Primer on Self Driving Cars
As of now, there are no, fully driverless cars out on public roads , other than a few highly controlled exceptions. Instead, self-driving cars are simply vehicles where technology is used to automate driving functions. At one end of the spectrum are cars with features such as lane assist and cruise control. At the other are cars that are considered to be ‘level 3’. […]