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Are Self-Driving Cars Safe?

by Dave Dobson

Are self-driving cars safe? While that’s a question you’ll have to ask each of the carmakers working on getting their autonomous vehicles on the road, there’s no doubt that self-driving cars will be much safer than human drivers, whose accidents and mistakes cause more than 90 percent of the 3,500 Americans who die every day in car accidents. Even when self-driving cars aren’t involved in accidents, they still have trouble getting people where they need to go. A recent study by the AA found that 21 percent of all motorists experienced a ride-share breakdown, and of that 21 percent, 28 percent were in a self-driving vehicle.

The Changes and The Innovation

A lot has changed since self-driving cars were first introduced in the 1950s. In the beginning, they were steam-powered and cost around $1 million. Now they are electric and cost around $1,000 but can tackle a wide variety of car-based tasks. So, are self-driving cars safe? The short answer is yes—at least when compared to the alternative, human drivers.

Advances in technology bring us new features and capabilities every day. Although this can be great, it sometimes means that we have to adjust to new and unfamiliar systems and processes. One of the newest examples of this is driverless cars. These cars are designed to drive themselves and eliminate human error, but some people are skeptical about how safe they are. While Google’s self-driving car has logged more miles than all but three states, there are still some unanswered questions about the safety of these cars. Some people think the car is at fault in every crash, while others believe it’s just an example of human error.

Self-driving cars are coming, whether we like them or not. The federal government released its latest set of guidelines for self-driving car development. The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to issue its first set of federal guidelines for autonomous cars this summer. Many major automakers have already begun testing the technology on the road. While a perfect track record is still years away, the hope is that autonomous cars will eliminate human error and make the roads much safer.

What’s Your Stand? Is it safe, or is it Not Safe?

As with every new technology, people are concerned about the dangers of self-driving cars. The reality is that while no driver is perfect, the computers that control these cars are making mistakes at far lower rates than a human can. For example, we hear about the occasional pedestrian that gets mistaken for a guardrail or a dog; these “incidents” have been greatly reduced because of the cars’ sensors. The truth is that self-driving cars are not just safer; they are also the future of driving.

At first, many people were skeptical about self-driving cars. Some doubted their safety, while others were afraid they would enable people to text or read their favorite books while driving—after all, it’s easy to do these things when you’re not the one steering the wheel. But then, Google proved that the technology for self-driving cars was safe. Since then, self-driving car technology has made big leaps, and driverless technology has become much more common.

If you live in a major city, you’ve likely seen plenty of self-driving cars cruising around. One day, you may be able to buy your own and never drive yourself again. But are self-driving cars safe? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Self-driving cars have caused more than a few accidents. Still, the companies developing these vehicles have been adamant that the crashes are the result of human error, not the self-driving systems themselves. The more we use self-driving cars, the better they will become, so that’s a good thing. But what if the crashes become more common? Are self-driving cars safe? Or do we need more safeguards?

When we think of self-driving cars, the first thing that comes to mind is the safety benefits. After all, humans are responsible for over 90 percent of accidents, with alcohol and driving under the influence being a major factor. However, the reality is that self-driving cars are not 100 percent safe, either. Google’s self-driving car program has already been involved in multiple accidents.

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