Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Will Self-Driving Cars Make the Roads Safer?

Will Self-Driving Cars Make the Roads Safer?

Will self-driving cars make driving safer? What are the risks associated with autonomous automobiles on American roads? No longer science fiction, self-driving vehicles are poised to enter mainstream traffic in the next few years. By 2025, it is estimated that fully automated safety features, highway autopilot, self-parking, and many other automated features will become standard on many automobiles. Currently, one fatality is recorded for every 100 million miles driven in the United States. In order for autonomous vehicles to make the roads safer, they would need to reduce this rate and the fact is that no one currently knows whether self-driving cars can achieve that.

Tesla, Waymo, Google, Ford, and many others are currently working on viable autonomous vehicle designs. There are currently six classification levels of autonomy given to these self-driving cars. Level 0 involves no autonomous capabilities. Level 1 offers advanced driver assistance to help with braking and steering. Level 2 can control braking, steering, and acceleration simultaneously while the driver monitors operations. Level 3 automation can perform all driving tasks in limited circumstances but the driver must remain prepared to take over from the system upon request. Level 4 and Level 5 systems can take over all driving functions and do not require any assistance from the driver for vehicle operation.

Recent data shows that completely self-driving cars may not be safer than vehicles that rely on a combination of Artificial Intelligence and human brainpower. Even as Tesla, Uber, and others aim towards fully autonomous vehicles, others are considering marrying the best of the human brain with the reliability of computerized control.

The jury is still out as to whether self-driving cars can ever be fully autonomous. In fact, disengagement data indicates that the combination of AI and human brainpower is the only safe solution. Disengagement can occur when the vehicle swerves, encounters an object or sign it is unfamiliar with, when the vehicle becomes uncertain of location, etc.

Disengagement rates are declining for many autonomous vehicles. However, they remain high enough to cause concern, and some show alarmingly high rates. For instance, the GM Cruise recorded 86 disengagements at a rate of one for every 5,205 miles. Companies such as Zoox recorded .5 disengagements per 1,000 miles, while Pony.ai had .98 per 1,000 miles. At the high end, Apple's "Project Titan" recorded 6,951 disengagements with just 79,745 miles driven. That is an alarming rate of 1.15 miles per disengagement.

Call in the Bull when you have a car accident with self-driving cars. Our attorneys represent clients pursuing accident claims in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL to discuss your options following a collision with an autonomous automobile.