Driverless Car Myths

driverless cadillacYou’ve probably heard about the possibility of self-driving cars by now. A Cadillac self-driving SUV has already been built and tested. With all of the hype on this advanced technology, there are sure to be some myths hanging around. Below we will address three of them:

Myth 1: Driver-less Cars are in the Distant Future.

Driver-less cars already exist. The technology is slowly making it into new vehicles, mostly luxury at this time. Technology like automated braking, self-parking systems, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warnings are available on many vehicles. As in all technology, things will happen in stages. One engineer imagines it happening in 3 stages, with full automated cars that do all of the driving much further off in the future.

Myth 2: Driver-less Cars are Unsafe.

You may feel in control when you’re driving in your vehicle. But there’s convincing evidence that humans overestimate their ability as drivers, and that computers can handle many elements of driving far more safely than humans. Driver error is the cause of accidents about 90% of the time. Therefore, “The hope is that turning more mundane things over to automation would result in an environment where people’s minds wandering doesn’t lead to tragic results,” says David Zuby, chief research officer for the IIHS. Safety Technology like Electronic Stability Control has been around long enough for researchers to find it reduces the risk of a fatal, single-car crash by nearly 50%, according to IIHS.

Myth 3: Google is the Sole Leader in Self-Driving Car Technology.

Google may have a fleet of driverless cars, but Google doesn’t build cars. It’s much more possible that Google is interested in precision mapping which is necessary for fully automated cars and Google already does this as a core competency. Other companies, like Cadillac, Lexus, and Mercedes, are actually developing automated cars that are likely to show up at dealers within the next few years. Plus, other firms like Mobileye are developing off-the-shelf driverless technology for much less than Google’s cost.

Google already catches attention with its driverless cars which have logged half-a-million miles with barely an incident. Progress is definitely being made. Some states have passed laws allowing self-driving cars, including California, Nevada, and Florida. In addition to that, new guidelines for automated vehicle were recently issued by the federal agency that regulates car safety. There is also talk that the agency may begin to require some driverless technology that could significantly improve safety in cars.

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