How Safe Are Self-drive Cars

By Ronak Shah

Self-drive cars are now being tested in America, however, there are a number of safety concerns that buyers should be aware of before they think about investing in this new technology. 

So how do self-drive cars actually work? In these new cars, a laser is mounted on the roof of the car and generates a detailed 3D map of the vehicle’s immediate surrounds . Different types of data models are then produced so that the vehicle can control itself, avoiding sensed obstacles. Radars mounted on the front and rear bumpers of the vehicle, enable the car to detect traffic conditions including traffic light sensors. 

Self-drive cars aim to make driving easier and safer than human-driven cars, however, safety has been a major challenge with the design of these self-drive cars so it could be a while before they reach Australian shores. In November 2018, Tesla debuted a feature called ‘ Navigate on Autopilot ’ which helps cars change lanes to overtake or to leave a freeway when desired. However, at least two Tesla drivers in the US have died using this new system, increasing safety concerns for engineers who are developing automated driving technology.

It is not only mechanical safety concerns that will prevent self-drive cars from entering the market, but also the concerns of drivers. An American study revealed that 15% of surveyed US citizens believe autonomous vehicles will never actually be available for sale, and 42% said they would never ride in a fully automated vehicle. The survey also revealed that by 2034, it is predicted that autonomous vehicles will make up just 10% of all vehicles purchased and sold in the US.

Ultimately, self-drive vehicles and automated driving technology interfere with the core principles of low-risk driving. Being completely aware of your surroundings and taking complete responsibility for decision making is the only way to be in control of your own safety and minimise risk on the road. At Corporate Driver Training Australia, we teach participants how to take control of their own safety, the safety of their passengers and other vehicles on the road – a principle that simply isn’t possible through autonomous vehicle technologies.

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