Will Autonomous Cars Really Cut Down on Fatal Accidents?
Some say autonomous vehicles are cool and cutting-edge, while others here in Fairbanks , AK and all over the world are filled with trepidation at the thought that they might be tooling around the roadways in a vehicle without someone at the steering wheel. Wait—there won’t be a steering wheel!?
Regardless of your opinion on autonomous vehicles, there has been an enormous amount of progress in their development over the past several years by automobile manufacturers and technology companies. Although Tesla and Google are usually two of the first companies to come to mind, there are more than 30 corporations currently focusing in this area. Here are some interesting facts about the true safety of autonomous cars from College Collision Center .
Many say the implementation of automated vehicles will make a substantial impact on public health, although there is simply not enough data available to really know all of the specifics yet. Some say they will need to be driven hundreds of millions of miles before we can make an accurate estimation, while others contend that’s a misconception.
According to a 2015 report by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the use of autonomous vehicles could eliminate 90 percent of accidents, $190 billion in damages and health costs each year, not to mention substantially reduce deaths.
President Barack Obama has been quoted as saying, “Automated vehicles have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year.” According to his highway safety chief, they
could potentially prevent 19 out of 20 car crashes.
Industry experts seem to agree. Earlier this year, Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that autonomous vehicles “could save many, if not most of the 32,000 lives that are lost every year on our streets and highways.”
But first, automated vehicles need to be deemed safe for public use and the general population also has to adopt this huge cultural shift.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94 percent of car crashes are due to human error. NHTSA Chief Mark Rosekind has said that autonomous vehicles will have a pivotal role in avoiding crashes but they need to be “much safer” than human drivers before they can be seen on the road.
In September, the federal government implemented new rules for automated vehicles, which include a 15-point "safety assessment.” The intent is to better determine whether or not driverless vehicles are safe for public use.
In the meantime, advancements are being made every day, which is one step closer to autonomous vehicles cruising U.S. roadways.
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Sources: Autonews.com, Yahoo and NHTSA