#Autonomous Vehicles #Technology

The Impact of Autonomous Driving on Road Safety

The Impact of Autonomous Driving on Road Safety

Can autonomous driving make a difference on the road? If you don’t have to do the driving and can let the vehicle handle the job, would you do it?

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that 94% of all traffic accidents are a result of human error. Drivers get distracted easily and it doesn’t help that our cars are filled with them. We have screens, warning lights, and music during our time in the road. Add kids, food, tiredness, smartphones, and other distractions and its no surprise that people cause more accidents than don’t. Still, 70% of Americans are afraid of self-driving cars.

Here are some of the pros and cons of autonomous driving.

Pro: Human error is limited

Once self-driving vehicles are perfected, they will do everything we don’t. These vehicles will be programmed to rigorously adhere to traffic rules and keep you and your passengers safe while on the road. Self-driving cars use computers, sensors, and radar to avoid accidents and be much safer than we can be as people. Unfortunately, some autonomous vehicles have gotten confused because of system errors, which is still a major concern.

Con: More tech means more tech failures

Autonomous driving means being entirely reliant on technology. Have you ever had your tech fail you? If your computer has ever had an issue, your smartphone required restarting due to an issue, or other devices required a hard boot restart, you know what a tech failure is. Imagine this problem occurring while in the middle of the road during your drive. This could be a serious problem if it happens while you’re on the road.

Pro: Traffic congestion would be reduced

Self-driving vehicles can alleviate traffic congestion and make it much easier for you to avoid accidents. Congestion is often caused by human errors, which would be much less when vehicles are driven by computers. Reduced accidents lead to lower insurance costs, decreased fuel consumption, and fewer injuries in high-density areas. This also means police wouldn’t be required to patrol the highways as often. Moving away from human-driven vehicles to self-driving cars could have some huge benefits. Imagine the stress reduction you could feel if you didn’t have to deal with traffic congestion on the road.

Con: Various obstacles create confusion

How often do you see road construction and road crews? For some people, this is a way of life and driving. That said, one of the most troublesome aspects of autonomous driving is the unpredictability of pedestrians, cyclists, and animals. Couple this with traffic cons and gravel roads, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster when computers are in charge. Eventually, these changes in traffic patterns will need to be programmed into the systems used by these self-driving cars.

Pro: You could get to your destination faster

Cars that allow computers to drive won’t need to be limited by speed limits on the highway. This means your highway travel could be done much faster than it can be when humans are behind the wheel. Of course, part of the programming of these self-driving cars is to ensure they can make humans feel comfortable while behind the wheel. Still, faster commutes, streamlined school bus routes, and more efficient cargo transport can make things much better for everyone involved.

Con: Who is responsible for an AV accident?

There are legal and ethical issues to consider when driving autonomously. These vehicles face real-time moral decisions that must be made. If an accident is going to happen, will the car hit a pedestrian or protect the occupants in the vehicle? Additionally, it might be hard to argue who is responsible for an accident when the computer is designed and programmed by an automaker. Should this responsibility go to the vehicle’s owner or the automaker? This is a serious dilemma.

Pro: Improved fuel efficiency

Because self-driving cars can optimize driving patterns and reduce idling times, the vehicle can select the most fuel-efficient routes. This could result in a significant reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. You might not have ever thought the answer to some of our climate issues would be to have cars that can do all of the driving for you, but that’s certainly the case. These cars could lead to much lower fuel costs for owners, but gas cars might not be around long enough to benefit from self-driving models.

Autonomous driving has its pros and cons, all of which must be taken seriously. Would you ever consider using a self-driving car to get where you need to go?

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