How to Measure Safety of Self-Driving CarsJune 13, 2019
As the excitement surrounding autonomous vehicles continues to grow, more car manufacturers have decided to develop their own version of a self-driving car. From tech companies to traditional automakers, these companies are investing a significant amount of time and money to make their mark on an industry that is estimated at $54 billion and is expected to grow significantly over the next several years. However, as the industry grows, so do the questions surrounding how to effectively measure safety in self-driving cars.
The main issue surrounding self-driving cars is ensuring that these vehicles are safe. However, determining safety is more complicated than it sounds since there is no simple way to measure safety. Existing guidelines are voluntary, and the laws vary from state to state. Once a clear set of parameters are established, there is no existing standard that can be used as a basis for measuring whether the safety parameters have been met.
For self-driving cars to be considered safe, they need to be equally, if not safer than human-controlled cars. The questions is, how much safer? The number of testing miles necessary to prove that self-driving cars are safe could run into the billions, and the process would be very costly. Therefore, researchers are looking into alternate ways to test driverless car safety, including computer simulations and test tracks.
Fully Autonomous Cars are Decades Away
The director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California Davis explained that there are six levels of autonomy in self-driving cars, ranging from zero to five. Level 0 is completely controlled by the human driver, whereas a Level 5 vehicle is capable of driving without any human intervention. The vehicles that currently offer self-driving technologies are at a Level 2. There are some places where self-driving shuttles are available, but they are in very restricted areas.
A study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that even if self-driving cars are only slightly safer than human-controlled vehicles, it can have a significant impact on driver safety. In fact, according to researchers, by deploying self-driving cars that are 10 percent safer than traditional cars, this can save more lives than waiting until the vehicles are 75 to 90 percent safer. As a result, they believe that the sooner the highly automated vehicles are deployed, the better.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking comments from the public about whether vehicles with automated technologies should be allowed on the roads. This would include vehicles without brake pedals or steering wheels. The government is in the process of determining how to ensure that the driving systems are safe, and who should monitor the technology. Even though self-driving cars have proven to be quite safe, they are not foolproof, and ensuring a high level of safety should be a top priority.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Self-Driving Car Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident involving a self-driving car, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will protect your legal rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.