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For now, self-driving cars prone to human error

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2018 | Car Accidents

Car accidents have led to serious and catastrophic injuries for far too many people in Virginia, which is a major reason for the appeal of automated vehicle technologies. However, some high-profile accidents and mishaps involving self-driving cars and other automated technologies have raised concerns about the safety of the vehicles. In particular, questions have been raised about susceptibility to hacking and other interference as well as mechanical errors and software bugs.

All of these issues reflect what one professor identifies as a significant underlying problem with autonomous vehicle development: namely, the involvement of humans. Most of the major corporations working to develop self-driving cars, including Google and Uber, seek to maximize the human-like experience of driving in an autonomous vehicle. However, human driving is a fundamentally flawed experience that often leads to car accidents. The Arizona State University engineering professor argues that automated vehicles can actually use different technologies that are less human-like but actually maximize safety and performance.

In commenting on a recent crash of a self-driving car being tested that involved a pedestrian fatality, he said that human drivers assume if they do not see an obstacle ahead of them, the road is clear. Thus, autonomous vehicles tend to be programmed to make similar assumptions based on what appears in front of their sensors. However, it could be possible to program autonomous vehicles to believe the road is always blocked unless proven otherwise without necessarily downgrading performance.

For now, the vast majority of car accidents are caused by direct human behavior. These crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries or even death in some cases with lifelong effects in many others. People who have been injured in a car crash due to another’s negligent or dangerous driving might choose to work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for the damages incurred as a result.