Is the world ready for self-driving vehicles? If you’ve been keeping up with the latest developments in these sophisticated cars, you would know that there are now vehicles that can park themselves or be summoned from the garage to the front of your house when you want to leave. Then there are those vehicles that are able to drive on their own in long stretches of roads without human input. BUT, yes there’s a huge but, if you’ve been following the space, you are probably aware that these self-driving vehicles are flawed and have been involved in accidents too, something the companies involved in developing self-driving technologies want to eliminate.
Another Google car, a Lexus that has been rigged to drive on its own, was involved in a recent car accident. According to reports, the Google vehicle was in self-driving mode when another vehicle that ran a red light hit the vehicle.
“A Google vehicle was traveling northbound on Phyllis Ave. in Mountain View when a car heading westbound on El Camino Real ran a red light and collided with the right side of our vehicle. Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection. Thousands of crashes happen everyday on U.S. roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the U.S. Human error plays a role in 94% of these crashes, which is why we’re developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer,” Google’s statement read.
The accident comes after the U.S. Department of Transportation called for companies developing self-driving vehicles to put safety as its top priority as well as sharing data with the government.
Earlier this year, some Tesla Motors’s vehicles with self-driving modes activated have been involved in accidents, with one resulting in a fatality. Tesla has reminded its users that though auto-pilot is turned on, drivers must keep their hands on the wheels and must be ready to take control at any given time, something the drivers involved in the accidents have failed to do.
It appears that there is still some road ahead for these vehicles to be considered truly safe. Perhaps until these vehicles are able to communicate with one another, communicate directly with traffic lights, and are able to apply safety measure that will prevent accidents such as braking, these self-driving vehicles might be nothing more than expensive vehicles with cool features that people can probably do without. However, there is a market and an incredible future for those companies that get it right. It's a classic race for the lead and at the root of it all are giant technology initiatives which will drive innovation for years to come.
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