Glimpse Of The Driverless Future: Are Concerns About Autonomous Cars Safety Unjustified?

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November 18, 2017 11:57 By Fabiosa

Over the past few years, car manufacturing companies have invested nearly $100 billion into developing self-driving vehicles. There is no doubt why: driverless cars are a sneak peek into the future, which is going to happen a lot sooner than we can imagine.

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Just in the beginning of November, Alphabet Inc’s subsidiary, Waymo, announced it would launch robotaxis with no human behind the steering wheel. It has been testing driverless cars on public roads in Arizona, according to Chief Executive John Krafcik.

While it might take a few years to be able to purchase a self-driving car, it might take decades for the autonomous cars to prevail on the roads. One of the recent predictions of Bob Lutz, a former top executive and designer at General Motors, has gone viral. He wrote that "in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways."

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This prophecy, no matter how true it actually is, may lead to a real controversy in the society. 

Some internet users have been excited about the possibilities driverless vehicles open for the humanity, praising the new technologies, safety aspects and easier commuting.  But plenty of people regard this possible step as another elite assault on their lifestyle and have doubts about the safety of these vehicles.

In October, Google’s self-driving car company, Waymo, submitted its first safety report to federal regulators about its technology.

The evaluation involves the various processes and technologies that ensure the safety of passengers, as well as “important lessons learned” from the history of the company’s self-driving program. Waymo, underlined,

We hope our Safety Report serves as a resource for anyone who wants to understand Waymo’s technology and commitment to safety, and that it contributes to the larger public conversation about driving safety.

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The report aims at increasing the understanding of how the self-driving vehicles work and raising awareness of how they can improve safety, enhance the mobility of disabled persons and reduce traffic. Waymo CEO John Krafcik explains,

People who see our self-driving cars on the road often have a lot of questions.There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to self-driving cars. As with any new technology, there's great enthusiasm and curiosity about self-driving cars — and there's some confusion, too.

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Trying to persuade the public, manufacturers and high-tech companies claim that vehicles could save many lives, but there are still many blank spaces as far as it concerns the technology, insurance, vehicle safety and public acceptance. There are no requirements for electronic safety performance or protection against cyber attacks. The only sensible approach to implementing driverless cars is a gradual introduction of this technology into our lives.

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