When Self Driving Cars Go Wrong!


Self Driving Cars – ( TeK-THinK)

There is no doubt whatsoever that the self driving cars have a very strong record of being accident free. However, unknown to many, autonomous cars are not immune to accidents. And when things go wrong, they can really go wrong. Already, there has been reports of various incidences involving minor accidents between these prototype self driving cars and conventional manually driven cars.

Mercedes-Benz F015 - Self driving car of the future

Mercedes-Benz F015 – Self driving car of the future

When Autonomous Cars Go Wrong

The Google self driving car

The Google self driving car

Justin Pritchard, reporting for The BIg Story, states that Google has acknowledged 11 accidents, albeit minor accidents, with its self-driving cars. However, the giant tech company is quick to defend itself by stating that in all cases, it was the other driver who was at fault (the manual driver and not the self driving car). The company also attributes accidents involving autonomous cars stating that the accidents only occur when the autonomous car is manually driven. One of such accidents happened near Mountain View, California. Google stated that w\by the time of the accident, the self driving car was manually driven.

With such reports, there are a number of issues that arise. One of the greatest concerns is that the car owner will not notice small problems with the car that could cause accidents. This will later compound into bigger problem. By the time the owner realizes the extent of the damage, there can be a strong likelihood of an accident.

Another issue is the question of the judgement of the car just prior to the accident. Human drivers can make a sound judgement that will mitigate the impact of an accident. For example, a bus driver may argue that it is better to hit one pedestrian on the road rather than saving that pedestrian and killing all the passengers in the bus. Similarly, human drivers can make the correct judgement of distance. Despite the advancement in technology, there is a limitation on concerning what technology can do. In particular, autonomous cars may lack human judgement.

Self driving cars will have to deal with human drivers on the road. It is true that they are going to gain a lot of popularity in the near future. But they will still be outnumbered by human drivers. This is because electric cars have a lot of technological demands. Some societies tend to be conservative and thus resistant to change. Such societies will still prefer the manually driven cars. Consequently, owners of autonomous cars cannot escape interaction with the others. It remains to be seen how cases will be solved between accidents involving autonomous cars and cars driven by humans.

The future for self driving cars

So far, Google has not responded to the question about who should take the ultimate responsibility when a vehicle that is controlled through programming is involved in an accident. In fact, the company has shied away from introduction official responses about the allegations only releasing statements. It also downplays the nature of the accidents with the director stating that the accidents cause light damages and no injuries. It is time that the manufacturers of autonomous cars did a rethinking of their safety policy. Perhaps, admitting that the safety issue of autonomous cars is real and warrants attention is not a bad way to start.