Self-driving cars are no longer the realm of science fiction, and the technology has seen massive leaps and bounds over the past few years. They’re not perfect yet, but it won’t be long before they are. From liability in a crash to the tech companies involved, here are some facts.
They Operate Using Many Sensors
The tech in an autonomous vehicle is expectedly impressive. Using an array of sensors, they constantly scan and use feedback to make intricate decisions, much like a human brain. LIDAR, RADAR, and ultrasonic sensors are just a few examples. These will monitor other vehicles, detect barriers, and identify lanes. You may still need a good car accident lawyer saved in your phone, though, as automated cars are some time off, so humans are still at the wheel.
Liability Laws are Currently in Development
When you get in a car accident, it is almost always clear where liability lies. Automated cars are a while off yet and aren’t expected to be road-safe until 2030. This gives us some time to come up with liability laws and regulations around them. It has been proposed that a driver manually operating a car will be liable for an accident, but there are assistive technologies that also handle the vehicle’s actions. As you can see, this is a complex issue that needs time.
Self-Driving Cars Will Reduce Fatalities
There are many vehicle accidents each year that cost lives, and almost all of them are caused by human error. Data from 2017 recorded this at 94% of the 37,000 incidents. The technologies of self-driving cars, whether autonomous or assistive, are predicted to reduce vehicle accidents by up to 90%. However, with the technologies we currently have, this cannot account for egregious causes of accidents, such as driving when drunk or under the influence of drugs.
Tech Companies are Getting in on the Action
Vehicle manufacturers are quick to adopt new technologies, especially if they are consumer and safety-focused. Yet, they need some assistance because of the complexity of the new tech in automated vehicles. Tech sector giants such as Apple, nVidia, and Sony are getting involved in vehicle technology. And some are even developing their own self-driving vehicles, such as Apple Car and Sony Vision-S. These are scheduled for release between 2024 and 2026.
You May be Able to Summon Your Cars
There is some freedom in your car being able to drive itself. With no humans required, it can reach you wherever you are. The technology is already being proposed for summonable vehicles that can pick you up. Imagine not having to wait for Uber anymore. Although, it is highly likely Uber will also purchase fleets of self-driving vehicles. We don’t know exactly how the tech will work, but it is probable there will be some link between your car and your smartphone.
There are many sensors that help a self-driving car operate, such as LIDAR. Human error will be reduced, meaning these vehicles will reduce accidents. Yet one of the coolest things about autonomous vehicles is that you will (someday) be able to summon them to your location.