Self-driving cars and road safety.

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For years and years car companies have tried to master the art of self-driving cars. The first successful concept built of an autonomous car dates back to the 1980s. Despite the years of commitment and improvement of technology, none of the car companies were able to build a fully autonomous self-driving car yet.

According to the society of automotive engineers SAE there are five levels of automated driving cars. Level 1 is driver assistance. Where the vehicle can control steering or breaking but not both simultaneously. Level 2 is partial automation where cars can assist with both braking and steering simultaneously. But the driver must pay attention to the road at all times. Both Tesla’s autopilot and General Motors supercruise use level 2 partial automation in their cars. Level 3 is conditional automation. The car handles most aspects of driving and the driver will have the ability to temporarily take their eyes off the road. Level 4 is high automation. The car can take full control of the car given the right conditions. And level 5 is full automation. At this level, the car will drive you. And there won’t be even a steering wheel. Experts suggest that we are currently in between level 2 and 3. The main reason we can’t reach above level 3 is the roads. Many roads in the world don’t have the standards to support a self-driving car. And there is an ethical problem of having autonomous cars in the streets.

The governments will have to implement a number of regulations before the transition of fully automated cars. They will eventually have to figure out a way for autonomous vehicles to safely navigate public roads among traditional cars. And the most important thing that needs to look at is the liability. Who will be responsible for an accident of two autonomous cars? And that’s a major issue regarding road safety.

The main difference between an autonomous car and a real driver is the decision and reaction. If there is an accident going to happen hypothetically, a human would have a reaction for the accident, and all other factors regarding the passengers will be a result of a reaction. If there is any situation where lives can be lost it will be a result of the reaction made by the human. But with autonomous vehicles if there were to be a fatal accident the responsibility of the lives will be a decision. And it’s close to planned homicide.

Having self-driving cars can also have a hugely positive effect too. It can remove the human error part and reach some kind of perfection in driving. And traffic can be reduced to a minimum. Because fully autonomous cars are connected with each other, they can share information about certain roads and terrains. It could lead to more efficient transportation. The ethical part of this is the only concern that scientists have. They predict that it will take at least 20 or 30 years more to reach an era with fully autonomous cars driving in every road including city, highways, and even country roads without road marks.

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