More Aggressive Safety Measures Needed for Self-Driving CarsNovember 7, 2018
As car manufacturers like General Motors Co., Tesla, and Alphabet Motors continue to develop their autonomous vehicles, many consumers and safety officials are not entirely convinced that they are as safe as they should be. After a pedestrian was fatally injured after being hit by a self-driving Tesla SUV, it raised serious concerns over certain aspects of these vehicles, and whether they are as safe, or safer than a vehicle driven by a human driver. The current metrics used to measure safety are not sufficient, according to an official with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Currently, the safety of autonomous vehicles is measured by miles driven and how often human intervention is required. DOT officials believe that car manufacturers need to do more when it comes to proving that these vehicles are safe for the person behind the wheel, other occupants in the vehicle, other motorists on the road, and pedestrians. Additional metrics need to be identified and implemented to establish more confidence and trust in self-driving cars.
General Motors Co. and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit have promoted that their autonomous vehicles have logged millions of test miles under computer control. They also record the number of times the test engineer had to intervene. This is the method they use to measure the vehicle’s safety. However, according to a DOT official, this is a flawed system as miles driven on a busy city street are much different than miles driven on an empty, rural highway. In addition, disengagements, which are the times when the driver takes over from the self-driving system, are often influenced by factors, like engineering choices and driving conditions.
DOT Seeks New Ideas on How Safety Should Be Measured
To reform federal policies for self-driving cars, the DOT is seeking input from car companies to provide their ideas on how to better measure the safety of self-driving cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also planning a series of test projects for self-driving vehicles. In addition, the agency plans to seek comments on possible changes to existing safety standards to allow for a range of new designs, including autonomous vehicles that have no steering wheel or foot pedals.
According to the Transportation Secretary, many consumers in this country do not yet trust the autonomous vehicle technology, and it is up to the car companies to give consumers a reason to believe that these vehicles are safe.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Self-Driving Vehicle Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a self-driving vehicle, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our experienced team will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and ensure that your legal rights are protected. We will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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