I’m sure that by now everyone has heard of Google’s work with self driving cars, it’s their AV project (Autonomous Vehicle) and it’s getting a lot of press. These AV’s are fitted with sensors that let the car know what is happening around it. From 2010 to 2015 these cars have had more than 1 million miles of driving time and 14 accidents. Only 9 out of the 14 accidents occurred while driving and not one of these accidents was the AV’s fault. Each and every one of the AV’s accidents were caused by a human who simply wasn’t paying attention. It seems that we are our own worst enemy.
There are Pro’s and Con’s of self driving cars.
- Lower car insurance premiums
- Less accidents
- Less injuries
- Less money spent on repairs
- Less road rage
- Less chance of a DWI
- Less chance of traffic jams
- Less chance of distracted driving
- Equipping a car with AV technology could add an extra $100,000 to the price of a car
- Unless everyone drives an AV car there will still be car accidents
- The computers that control the car and the sensors can be hacked
- Many jobs in the public transportation sector will be lost
- Heavy rain and other weather incidents can interrupt an AV’s sensors and cause an accident
- More people will become carsick
- These cars rely on GPS and if you’ve ever had your GPS tell you to make a right when the only thing on your right hand side is a river or nothing at all then what happens?
Self driving cars will bring changes to the insurance industry as well, who’s to blame is a self driving car does have an accident? The manufacturer? The software programmer? The weather? A hacker? Could a whole generation of American’s grow up never knowing how to drive their own cars? A recent article published by MIT entitled “Why Self Driving Cars Must Be Programed To Kill” paints a bleak picture and makes me think that this whole project might not be such a great idea.
How do you feel about getting behind the wheel of a self driving car? Would you be comfortable allowing a computer to transport your family to the grocery store or on a cross country vacation? Will the insurance industry be able to work out all of the intricacies of claims involving self driving cars? Right now there is no way to answer any of these questions but we do need to start thinking about them.
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