The year 2020 is when Google plans to release its automated road-ready vehicles. So far, its cars have racked up 1.3 million miles of testing from California to Texas, and those cars have only been involved in 17 crashes—all of which were attributed to human errors. However, this record may have been ruined by the latest crash involving Google’s autonomous vehicles.
Are Self-Driving Cars Really As Safe As Experts Claim?
For months, experts have been talking about how the automated vehicle—also called an AV—is going to revolutionize driving by reducing wrecks, decongesting traffic and by taking unsafe drivers from behind the wheel, but some aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid. Some automotive journalists are beginning to question if the Google car can compensate for human intuition, and if it can’t, will it truly be safe to drive out on the open road?
On Valentine’s day, a Google car sideswiped a bus in the lane directly beside it. According to the test drivers in the car, the vehicle was in autonomous mode when it encountered a sandbag blocking part of its lane. The vehicle came to a stop, waited for traffic in the neighboring lane to die down, and then it side-swiped the bus. The crash happened at very low speeds—the bus was traveling at about 15 mph while the car was driving at around 2 mph—and no people we injured in the collision, but this turn of events makes critics fears look more valid.
What’s The Problem With Driverless Cars?
Can Google’s vehicles really be trusted to make the right decision in certain circumstances? If the car had to choose between driving through a crowd of pedestrians or driving you off a cliff, which would it choose? And who will take responsibility if one of these AVs cause an accident? For now, Google is sticking to its guns by claiming that AVs are safe. The company has even admitted that it bears some of the fault from the accident on February 15, but for now, the jury is still out on how safe driverless cars really are.
What do you think? Are autonomous vehicles the future, or are they more dangerous than what many experts believe? Should the car owner be responsible for any crash his or her car causes, or should the manufacturer take the blame? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages.