Safety of Autonomous Driving


Source: Axel Antas-Bergkvist

An example of a self-driving car.

Heather Phillips, staff writer

When it comes to self-driving cars, human drivers are not required to take control of operating the vehicle. This is also known as “autonomous driving” or “driverless cars” which combine sensors and navigation to control the vehicle using computer software.

In the past years, self-driving cars have improved dramatically from possible to, as some think, inevitable. The idea of self-driving cars was developed to prevent accidents from happening. Over 90 percent of the accidents that occur on the road are caused by driver error, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although, there are many factors that contribute to these accidents. For example, distractions due to weather and other vehicles, eyesight and reaction time are common causes.

Self-driving car companies, such as Mercedes, General-Motors, and Autoliv, have an objective of reducing the risk of death due to accidents, which is why researchers are figuring out ways to improve car safety, but some consumers are torn about the autonomous cars. Amanda Pierrot, an eighth-grader at McAuliffe Middle School, is conflicted when it comes to the safety of self-driving. “I think it’s interesting and awesome how people code a car to drive. It’s also scary because the car can dysfunction and cause a car accident. They should always make more improvements to make it better and safe.”

Additionally, self-driving cars work by radio sensors. The sensor technology inside the vehicle controls the steering wheels and petals. Due to these advanced features, autonomous cars are more expensive. 

These new cars have not been driven enough yet for accurate safety statistics, but researchers are continuing to gather data in hopes to prove that self-driving cars are the safer option. This will require hundreds of millions of miles to be driven, a study from claims. In conclusion, autonomous driving is not yet perfect. As the tests improve, we will hopefully see improvements from autonomous vehicles and fewer car accidents.