Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 9, 2018 - As technology progresses, it is difficult to predict what safety standards will be enacted for driverless vehicles. Many fear to lay down their trust for a computerized chauffeur. In fact, 85 percent of baby boomers mistrust the safety of self-driving cars — followed by 73 percent of millennials.
In order to realistically approach the present safety concerns, self-driving cars will have a much higher standard to uphold. People are more likely to trust a human driver over a machine-operated vehicle, though this new technology is rapidly advancing to a higher safety rating than that of the average human. In fact drunk and distracted driving leads to 29 and 10 percent of deadly accidents. Self-driving vehicles create the opportunity to create safer roads without negligent drivers.
“Negligence is the root cause of nearly all traffic accidents,” said Robert Joyce, a Tampa car accident attorney with the law firm of Joyce & Reyes. “Far too many people are injured or lose their lives due to human error.”
Nidhi Kalra, an information scientist at the RAND Corporation in San Francisco, explains that the best way to ensure the self-driving cars’ safety is to test them on real highways. She says, “I think a lot of people were thinking, ‘Oh, we’ll just wait until the companies do enough test-driving.’ You could wait until the next millennium until that happens.”
However, companies promoting motorized drivers are forging a strong future for self-driving vehicles. This past November, Waymo released a fleet of self-operated minivans in Phoenix — the first of its kind. They are giving people the chance to ride for free in the minivans for the upcoming months to promote their vehicles for a future launch of self-driving taxis.
Innovative companies such as Waymo find ways to test their vehicles’ safety by simulating millions of miles in the short span of a day matched with real time driving on a track. There are some hesitations to simulations, though, as nothing can compare to real traffic. Philip Koopman, an electrical and computer engineer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, questions, “What about the scenarios they didn’t know [to simulate]?”
As self-driving vehicle companies are testing their products, Kalra explains that her team sees a future where motorized drivers are 10, 75 or 90 percent more secure than the average driver on the road today. Though 10 percent seems small, accident-related deaths would drop down to one fatality per 100 million miles. This means that between 2020 and 2050, around 500,000 deaths could be prevented.
Perhaps more people will move towards acceptance of self-driving cars once the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) creates a specified safety rating for them. Kalra remains hopeful, but explains that this “will probably come after the technology is on the road, just as it did for regular cars.”
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