There is no debate that traffic accidents are now enlisted as among the top causes of public health crisis. Reports from the National Safety Council are scaring –over 35, 000 fatalities resulted from crashes in 2015 only, not mentioning the injuriess, which stood at 2.4 million.
In 2016, things were worse; as high as 40,200! Well, 2017 is still on, so the exact report is not yet out but still, there are fears that the numbers will as well be worrisome. RAND Corporation predicts that autonomous vehicles would reduce road fatalities by 70 percent.
Most accidents, as reported by the Traffic Departed result from human errors which include drunken driving, driving under fatigue, and ignorance of road signs that could otherwise be avoided. Autonomous cars don’t need a human driver behind the wheel, they are self-driving.
However, the society is yet to embrace this new development, citing that the car is yet to attain a 100 percent mark of safety.
Autonomous vehicles would reduce road fatalities as they improve
Perfection is good, but based on the rate of accidents registered each year in the US alone, which is tens of thousands numerically; the paper suggests the employment of autonomous car is of urgency despite their current percentage of performance safety. That would save thousands of lives annually as research broadens to perfect it.
Permitting the use of autonomous cars, even though they are still only 10 percent better than the current US driver could prevent thousands, if not tens of thousands of road fatalities over the next 15 years.
Logically, with the above average versus 15 years, the researchers stated that “this would be hundreds of thousands of fatalities evaded by the elapse of 30 years, compared to waiting until the cars are 75 percent or 90 percent better in performance.”
Given the uncertainties surrounding the future of autonomous vehicle use, and performance, the calculations were focusing on road facilities over time under numerous plausible futures and various safety requirements for autonomous vehicle introduction.
From the horse’s mouth:
Nidhi Kalra, a keen co-author of the study, and among the prime directors of RAND’s, at San Francisco office, says, “If we wait until these cars attain perfection in performance, our research suggests the cost will translate to many thousands of needless crash deaths from human mistakes.”
“Continuing this way is the exact definition of perfect being the enemy of the good,” Nidhi added. This he said answering concerns of one critic who was completely against the deployment of 40 percent less perfect self-driving cars.
Developers of driverless vehicles are testing the cars at various places such as Pittsburgh and San Francisco, while on the other hand, federal lawmakers are busy setting up new regulations, updates and directions to govern their development, and encourage their use.
However, one thing remains unclear, which is the exact point where an autonomous car should be considered good before they are made available to all consumers for use.
The concept, purpose, and reality of autonomous cars
Researchers conclude that autonomous cars are proven safer than the average human American driver is, and, it will wipe out problems such driving when drunk, tired or distracted these being the most consequential vices that the National Highway Traffic Administration face daily when dealing with human drivers.
Nonetheless, the vehicles would still cause crashes because they remain vulnerable to other unpredictable hazards such as inclement weather, cyber-attacks, and complex traffic situations.
“This may be unacceptable because society tends to tolerate fewer mistakes made by machines than those made by humans,” said David Grove, a co-director, and author of RAND’s Water & Climate Resilience Center.
“Nonetheless, if we can convince that early self-driving vehicle will make some errors but fewer compared to human drivers developers can use this early deployment to quickly improve the autonomy technology, even as their vehicles continue to save lives.
Even so, the potential future users of these cars have their own opinion on what they think about autonomous vehicles, something that the developers need to listen, address, incorporate and, or advise to make the dream success.
As it is oblivious, Google, (which is working hard to establish Google maps, a key element in self-driving cars,) and the like of Elon Musk, the founder of The Boring Company and builder of an underground tunnel in Los Angeles are very keen with this upcoming technology.