A few years ago, Autonomous Vehicles, or Self-driving cars became more than just a pipe-dream. With Google’s self-driving cars showing great potential, these controversial vehicles are getting smoother and smarter all the time.
Last month, a self-driving Nissan Leaf was trialed in London, on motorways, streets and in varying levels of traffic. This was partly due to England’s relative flexibility with AVs; allowing one insurance policy to cover both an autonomous and conventional driver.
In the States, Uber has resumed its AV road tests, after one of their AVs was involved in an accident. Another vehicle (driven by a human) failed to give way to the self-driving car, which caused the collision. If Uber continues with their AV fleet, customers may see cheaper and safer journeys in the future – perhaps another advantage over their Taxi competitors.
Closer to home, an Australian company has received a $2.2 million government grant to test their AV radar technology in South Adelaide’s CBD. Their radar could be of great benefit to autonomous vehicles, allowing them to ‘see’ around corners and is unaffected by adverse weather conditions.
With an estimated 23,000 traffic fatalities per week due to human error, self-driving cars seem like an excellent way to dramatically reduce accidents.
However, concerns about hacking and insurance are common.
These cars, like most modern cars rely on a lot of new tech and connections to various internet sources. This leaves the cars open to hijacking from remote hackers, able to cause accidents or deaths without leaving a trace. Though this is a worry for self-driving cars, any modern car with high-tech functioning is potentially at risk and so security measures need to be in place, whether the car is self-driving or not.
Another point is that although these vehicles will be less likely to cause an incident due to error, there will inevitably be some accidents caused. If both vehicles are in self-driving mode when the collision occurs, the question lies in who is to blame – the company or the owner of the vehicle at fault?
So, with rising interest in Autonomous Vehicles, what do you think? Are they a great invention to keep us safe? another danger due to technology? or perhaps an unsavoury addition to the 9-5 grind – why shouldn’t you work while your car drives for you?