The self-driving car industry is trying to tell the public that these vehicles are safer than those driven by humans. While it is true that they do have many safeguards, accidents are still possible. It is imperative that anyone who is operating their vehicles around autonomous ones are aware of the risks.
Many systems have to work together when they are in charge of a vehicle. For a human, this includes our sense of perception, the brain, and the hands and feet to control the vehicle. A self-driving car relies on cameras, light detecting devices, radars, a computer and control electronics to operate the vehicle.
What’s the trouble with the autonomous system?
One of the biggest issues that these systems have is that they can’t make decisions like a human. There are limited aspects to some of them. For example, the light detection and ranging has a rotating laser beam that works with the camera and radars to determine the distance to an object and other important information. The processing of the information must be swift in the autonomous vehicle. This depends partly on the entered algorithms.
It is interesting to note that autonomous vehicle system can constantly “learn” about various situations while the vehicle is driving. This is done through the algorithms that are in place and reviewing the information stored.
The processing of information and the manipulation of the vehicles’ controlling electronics can’t have delays or there could be disastrous consequences. Even a few seconds could make the difference between avoiding and incident and having a fatal crash.
Why else might they be dangerous?
While it isn’t common, it is possible that these systems might be hacked or that malfunctions occur. Some worry that terrorist attacks and similar incidents may take place through these vehicles. Some manufacturers have tried to block this from happening, but they shouldn’t argue that they can wholly prevent such crimes.
Another problem raised is liability. Who is liable for the damages caused in these crashes? Are the manufacturers responsible? Does the liability fall on the owner? Or, is it a combination of both? As time moves on, there is a chance that the laws will evolve to provide better answers to these questions. Until then, victims of crashes with these vehicles will need to work to understand the laws as they stand at this time.