It wasn’t that long ago that self driving cars were one of many ridiculous ideas that we were presented with alongside things like sentient robot-people in movies like I, Robot. However, in the ten years since that particular movie came out, self driving cars have become very real. As much as these machines were just a crazy idea 10 years ago, they might well be the norm in the near future.

One of the biggest problems with transportation today is the massive number of car accident injuries and deaths that we have to deal with in modern society, and that’s one problem that self-driving cars are supposed to resolve.

What Makes Self Driving Cars Safe?

Google, Delphi, and Ottomatika are pushing safety as a primary argument for switching toward their driving model with Google’s Ron Medford stating that self driving cars will eventually be “much, much better than a human [driver]”. The arguments for how self-driving cars can keep us safer on the road are numerous, and pretty compelling. Here are a few of the most important…

  • They always pay attention
  • They don’t get drunk
  • They have a faster reaction time than people
  • They follow the rules
  • They don’t over-correct or lock the brakes when trying to adjust speed or direction

What About Competition?

It’s been brought up that self-driving cars from different companies might not interact with each other well, and that this could cause problems. Luckily, we already have an example of an incident where a self-driving Google car and one from Delphi encountered each other on the road in a real-world scenario. Though the Google car moved to cut the Delphi car off, it aborted and moved back into its lane before the maneuver would have been considered dangerous. Though the press called it a “near-accident”, both Delphi and Google claim it as proof that self-driving cars can interact safely on the road.

What About Weak Spots?

Until our technologies finally drive us off the road entirely (for our own safety, of course), the weakest link in traffic will always be human error. Losing control of the open road might well be considered the beginning of the much-heralded robot uprising. This idea of the loss of human control is probably the biggest barrier to making self-driving cars the norm on the road.

The Automation Paradox

The more advanced a machine becomes, the more difficult it becomes to understand and control. This makes us feel like we’re being disempowered when we’re handed a highly advanced piece of technology. Even today we still have people who will only drive cars that run on carburetors because it’s more difficult to look under the hood and understand what the problem is with a newer vehicle.

I, Robot, and every other movie where humanity fights desperately to prevent an AI from saving us from ourselves, has shown us that we’ll fight heroically to ensure our right to hurt ourselves and others on our own terms. Let’s hope that we’ll have a better reaction in practice than we’ve had in our collective imagination so far.

Until we do have super-safe self driving cars we’ll have to keep worrying about the dangers of the open road. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and suffered an injury, please give us a call today. We can put you in contact with local auto accident lawyers to make sure that you get the accident compensation that you’re entitled to.


Category: Car Accidents