Self-driving cars have quickly crossed from fantasy to reality. Click here to learn more about this controversy and how control has become the subject of debate.

Should Driving Be Left to the Steadier Control of a Computer?

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road signs pointing to autonomous and driver assist directionsTime magazine recently ran a cover story with the following provocative headline: No Traffic. No Accidents. No deaths. All you have to do is give up your right to drive.

The stories within focused on the recent rapid development of smart cars and autonomous vehicles, and took two somewhat opposing viewpoints.

The Increasingly Compelling Case For Why You Shouldn’t be Allowed to Drive, written by Motor City native Matt Vella focused on the fast-paced competition involved in getting autonomous vehicles on the road as quickly as possible in order to decrease car accidents and injuries. The basic gist of the story was that self-driving vehicles can help eliminate the major cause of severe car accidents—human error—and may soon become a mandatory form of transportation. Simply put, the article stated that “computers are [just] better (and safer) drivers than humans.” Vella pointed out that, unlike a human driver, a car’s computer can maintain the following 100% of the time:

  • Focus. A computer can’t take its focus off the road, become distracted by passengers or gadgets, let hunger or anger affect its judgment, fall asleep, or allow any emotion or action to compel it to make a poor driving error.
  • Speed. Computers are mathematically exact and can control acceleration much more precisely than a human can gauge the amount of pressure his foot is exerting on the pedal. In addition to obeying speed limits, this also increases fuel efficiency. 
  • Sobriety. A computer doesn’t need to decide whether one more drink is too much or if it had enough to eat today to have another beer. It is always alert, sober, and in control.

Smart Cars Are Already Here, written by Katy Steinmetz of San Francisco, on the other hand, explored the notion that technological advances that are currently being installed in new automobile models help make driving safer and more convenient without the need to give up the human element of control. Her article uses information from top car manufacturers to take the stance that, with the help of sensors, cameras, and radar, the human driver can be safe while also “legally (and literally) [staying] in control” of the vehicle.

The Future of Litigation

At the Andrew Kim Law Firm, we are keeping a close eye on this emerging technology. Another unknown in the world of driverless technology is what happens when a car that is not completely under the control of a human driver collides with another car or a pedestrian. Who can be held accountable? Auto accident attorneys across the country will soon be asking this questions.

Category: Car Accidents


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