I had ideas for umpteen blogs. Here is where they all somehow converge and I attempt to do something productive with my sprawling web presence.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Self-driving cars safer than human-driven cars; almost ready for consumer market
Self-driving cars are no longer machines found solely in the world of science fiction. Multiple companies have been testing out their own versions, including Nissan, Volvo, Tesla Motors and Google. For many, the idea is a bit scary. How does anyone know for sure whether the vehicles will be safe? Perhaps in response to consumers’ squeamishness surrounding the safety of the vehicles, Google has issued a comprehensive report relating that self-driving cars are probably better drivers than humans.
The report has documented all the accidents that Google’s self-driving cars have encountered. Out of the 1.8 million miles Google’s cars have been on the road, only 12 minor accidents have occurred, reports Business Insider, June 9. The kicker is that humans were to blame for every one of the accidents.
Some of the accidents happened when Google employees attempted to manually control the cars. Other accidents happened when the vehicles were hit by other car drivers. One instance saw a Google car being rear-ended at a stop light. Another was side-swiped by a driver who veered into its lane.
A recent study relates that many people are warming up to the idea of replacing human drivers with vehicles that are driven by robots. 90 percent of all driving accidents are due to driver errors and there are many factors contributing to those errors such as drugs, alcohol, environmental factors and overall bad judgment. Autonomous vehicles areable to detect surrounding environments in real time using a kind of radar (LIDAR), high powered cameras, sonar, positioning systems and sophisticated software that allow them to be more knowledgeable than a human driver could naturally sense.
According to Computerworld, autonomous vehicles could solve a lot of problems. A study released by Eno Center for Transportation relates that there would be a significant decrease in automobile accidents each year which would save 21,700 lives and save $450 billion annually. The self-driving cars would also decrease major freeway congestion by 75 percent because of the way the cars’ technology senses the vehicles around them and communicates with other self-driving vehicles. Autonomous cars can anticipate other vehicles’ increase and decrease in speed, allowing for smoother rides along the road, as well as fuel savings.
Self-driving car manufacturers say that consumer ready models will hit the market as soon as 2018-2020. In the meantime, Google is releasing monthly reports on their self-driving car project.
While some are still squeamish about having self-driving cars on the road, others are asking, “Will we need a license to drive them?” Regulations are being drawn up as car manufacturers such as Tesla Motors and Google work out the kinks in their self-driving car programs. When the vehicles are available, drivers may need to undergo more instruction and testing before they can be carried around on the street by robots.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com