Autonomous Cars Might Not Prevent As Many Crashes As Originally Believed
Autonomous vehicles have been built up to be something of a magic bullet that can make accidents and fatalities a thing of the past.
However, those rosy expectations might not reflect reality as study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests autonomous vehicles might only be able to prevent around a third of crashes.
While driver error is involved in more than 9 out of 10 crashes, the IIHS notes it’s the “final failure in the chain of events” leading up to an accident. As a result, eliminating a human driver can’t magically prevent all accidents.
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In particular, their analysis suggests autonomous vehicles would only be able to avoid about a third of crashes simply because “they have more accurate perception than human drivers and aren’t vulnerable to incapacitation.” To eliminate all crashes, they say autonomous vehicles would have to be radically reprogrammed to prioritize safety over speed and convenience.
As part of the study, they assumed autonomous vehicles would be programmed to make the same decisions about risk that humans do. This ideally would result in a vehicle that drives like a person, but it always paying attention and can’t be under the influence.
Given this, they then looked at more than 5,000 crashes which were reported by police and involved emergency medical services being called and at least one vehicle being towed away from the scene. In essence, they were looking for severe accidents.
They then ...
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