Everyone has dreamed at least once of what the future will look like. Highly advanced cityscapes, hoverboards, and even flying cars are things that come to mind. But perhaps, the future is already here in ways we don’t readily recognize.
From artificially intelligent robots all the way to advances in medical technology, even the smallest of things are changing for the better. However, in this current technologically advanced world, one of the most ‘stereotypically futuristic’ thing happens to be the autonomous or self-driving car.
Although companies would like you to believe they are just around the corner and are planning to take over roadways left and right, the questions most people really want to know are how close they actually are to the market and whether or not they are safe enough to be trusted nationwide. Below, these things will be discussed and answered and will hopefully help the average driver come to terms with the future.
Will Self-Driving Cars be Available to the Public Soon?
The most straightforward answer would simply be ‘no.’ The reason is due to a myriad of things from safety precautions, legislation, and the doubtful masses these vehicles gained after the unfortunate loss of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona earlier this year.
Because these tests must prove these cars are completely safe before legislation can be put in place to allow them to hit the market, the likelihood that autonomous vehicles will be easily accessible to the public within the year is fairly low.
In fact, according to Digital Trends, “Toyota has stopped testing its autonomous-car technology on public roads. The decision came after an incident on Sunday, March 18 involving a self-driving Uber car that struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona. The car had an Uber engineer in the driver’s seat, but the vehicle was reportedly operating in autonomous mode when the accident occurred. It’s believed to be the first fatality involving a self-driving car.”
The truth is that people don’t trust driverless cars and, despite the fact that many of these cars have successfully completed trips and avoided accidents, the loss of Elaine Herzberg has certainly put a sour taste in driver’s mouths nationwide.
For now, more testing and legislation must occur in order to come up with an informed release date projection. Until then, drivers can enjoy the benefits of cruise control and even get a taste of autonomy by using one of Tesla’s semi-autonomous car models.
However, even these cars have proven to be dangerous. A driver lost their life on March 23rd of this year when using this hands-free Tesla mode.
So, Are Self-Driving Cars Actually That Safe?
With two documented deaths on the books, it can be easy for the average individual to look at these cars and immediately hope they never hit the market. However, what we are not taking into account are the analytics rather than the emotions.
Human error is the cause of 94% of car accidents and there are over 1.3 million deaths from car accidents every year. With this in mind and knowing these cars are still being tested before being released to the public, these two fatalities don’t particularly seem so horrible.
Although any death is a serious loss, these cars, once fully tested for safety, could lead to a drastic reduction in yearly car accident-related fatalities. With this in mind, the question isn’t whether they are safe or not but how far these companies are willing to go to reach a future with safe and fully autonomous vehicles.
In the end, every advancement is subject to trial and error and driverless vehicles are no different. However, when these cars finally do reach the public, the most important thing to do to keep them safe is to ensure you have a reliable mechanic.
At Meridian Automotive, the future doesn’t scare us. We know the auto industry is always advancing, and we make sure all of our mechanics are up to date on the latest trends. Whether your car is a futuristic wonder or a blast from the past, come on in for a checkup today!