Driverless Cars: Can We Trust Them?

Driverless cars were considered to be our redemption from road accidents. They were designed to reduce 1.3 million road accidents globally each year. Robots, that can drive precisely, without being drunk, distracted or drowsy replaced human drivers. Then why did a driverless Uber SUV in Arizona run over a woman instead of hitting the brakes? 64% of Americans don’t want to share the road with driverless cars. Again, 63% of Americans say that they don’t want to ride in autonomous cars. Meanwhile, investigators and experts are examining about the Arizona tragedy, here are some aspects we thought you would like to know about driverless cars. This article will help you decide if you should ride autonomous cars.

How Do Driverless Cars Work?

Self-driving cars know about the roads with the help of lidars (laser radars), radars, and cameras. These equipments help them to determine objects and their location on the road. The high-speed CPU processes data to generate a 360-degree map of objects on the road such as stoplights, signs, pedestrians, traffic, lanes etc. Therefore, as per theory, the technology helps autonomous cars to know when to go and where to stop.

What Do Engineers Think About Autonomous Cars?

Statistics say that 94% of accidents in United States occur due to human error. Additionally, engaging with mobile devices while driving increases the rate of road fatalities across United States. Hence, AI controlled cars are focused and alert while driving. The computers analyze the data gathered through on-road experience and create a safer driving experience. Therefore according to engineers, driverless cars are meant to be safer.

Why Did Accidents Happen?

Driverless cars adhere to traffic rules. It may have triggered human drivers to override robot drivers, which may have caused accidents. Besides the Arizona incident, Tesla model S driver was killed in a mishap with a truck where the truck suddenly entered the wrong lane. Investigators found out that the car was in Autopilot and needed human assistance at the time of accident. It was found out that the Autopilot’s design was also responsible for the accident. Hence, the car company made modifications to facilitate driver input.

About Arizona Accident

The case is still being investigated. According to the reports, the 49-year old victim was pushing her bike across the road when the car hit the lady. Neither the sensors nor the driver could notice her crossing the road. The car bumped her without hitting the brakes. She was immediately taken to the hospital where she was confirmed dead. She died because of the injuries caused in the accident.

Experts agree that the incident should not have occurred as the car was enabled with sophisticated sensors. The vehicle should have discovered the woman crossing the road and touched the brakes immediately. However, these accidents declare that driverless cars still struggle to differentiate between inanimate objects and pedestrians. Also, the cockpit footage issued by police shows that human safety driver was looking down before the car hit woman. Alertness could have saved her life.

A Blow For Driverless Cars?

Uber has already suspended the driverless car testing program. As of now, Uber isn’t looking forward to launch its autonomous cab service and will investigate further on the loopholes of technology. However, Waymo, a part of Alphabet Inc. says that their self-driving cars would have discovered the pedestrian and prevented the accident.

According to NY Times, Uber’s tests needed human intervention more as compared to other tests conducted by other companies. Anyway, accidents caused due to autonomous cars have produced more anxiety among consumers worldwide. Automakers are already striving hard to overcome the setbacks.

Who Decides If We Can Trust Driverless Cars?

Although the federal agency has not yet regulated the testing of autonomous cars on streets, U.S. states have set up regulations on the same. United States house is planning to come up with some standards in September that will permit self-driving vehicles to touch the roads. A bill regarding the cause is being discussed in the Senate. It will have tougher supervision and will ensure consumer protection.


As far as the reason behind road fatalities due to self-driving vehicles isn’t determined, safety campaigners have asked automakers to halt the process of deploying autonomous vehicles. Nevertheless, many companies still believe in the technology and have decided to move forward. Waymo, Audi and General Motors are some from the lot who have decided to build more cars that will not need a human attendant. General Motors Co. has already planned to launch a robot taxi service in the upcoming year.

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