Self driving cars have become a thing of the present. For years self driving automobiles have been futuristic interpretations by American film makers. However they are becoming more and more of a reality, with Uber and Google taking steps to getting driverless cars on the roads by next year.
However, with all the news that this new and readily available technology, comes the sad news that there has already been a fatality in an auto-piloted car. Joshua Brown was killed when his vehicle hit a truck while in autopilot mode. Experts are now stating that the family could sue Tesla, the company responsible for the car.
The car was driving at around 60mph at the time of the crash on May 7th this year, and its argued that neither the driver or the vehicle could see the dazzling white against the bright sky, making them both accountable for the accident.
Tesla describes its automated driving service as a traffic aware cruise control, and that drivers should keep their hands on the wheel at all times when the vehicle is in automated mode.
The father of Joshua Brown has spoken out about the incident, stating that he is unsure whether he will prosecute the company.
The argument of whether self driving cars are safer than humans is still getting questioned. With Tesla cars clocking 130 million miles so far with one fatal incident, and the average human clocking 94 miles before an incident – there really is no question as to whether these cars are safe. Of course they are, however there is always risk with anything that involves multiple people/technology. There are still many pros and cons to the technology, they take less decision away from drivers, aiming to lower reckless driving. However, can they detect dogs or children in the road? A spokesperson for the company has stated that the technology for such an outcome has not yet been developed.
Tesla have announced recently that their automated cars should always be supervised by drivers, and that they are not suitable for driving on the roads remotely. This has raised questions about the ability of these cars and whether they were ever designed to be put on the roads by themselves, as advertised years previously. It’s been argued that Tesla should release critical safety features on any new vehicles, which outline the specs specifically for the drivers.
In any case, cars such as this should be thoroughly tested to make sure that they are 100% safe for road users. Google and Uber are still testing their cars on the roads to test their reactions to other road users, who can be unpredictable, unlike robots. Tesla have yet to release a statement on the testing of their vehicles, and are awaiting a response from the family of Joshua Brown on whether they intend to prosecute the company over the dead of their son.