Would you risk using an autonomous vehicle?
The “idea” of fully autonomous vehicles is very popular right now. Consumers are being bombarded with articles about the latest driverless vehicles and autonomous delivery trucks to hit the roads for testing. However, the “reality” of a fully autonomous car has yet to be realized. In fact, this nascent technology will not be safe for widespread use until auto manufacturers overcome the numerous safety risks, such as:
Human drivers are better at doing certain things
Driverless cars are still not as good at performing certain driving tasks as their human counterparts. Particularly, humans are still far better than computers when making left-hand turns, navigating bad weather, driving over strange road surfaces and interpreting hand gestures and eye contact with other motorists.
Autonomous cars are vulnerable to their human owners
Humans will always be humans, and sometimes, the owner of a car will not have enough money to pay for maintenance and repairs. While motorists might be able to slide on maintenance with human-driven cars, when it comes to an autonomous vehicle, the slightest maintenance issue could be enough to throw the entire system out of whack.
Driverless vehicles don’t do well sharing the road with human operators
The other serious problem with driverless cars is the fact that human drivers might not be able to adjust to them. A robot-driven vehicle will act differently than a human vehicle and this could create confusion between both the humans and the computers, resulting in accidents.
If automakers can overcome these and other potential safety risks, society will benefit from many aspects of driverless vehicles, such as an ability to eradicate accidents caused by drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving and other human-caused collisions. The questions is, who is liable when a computer causes a crash? Perhaps, only time will tell as our nation’s civil courts address the important concept of self-driven car liability.