Nowadays everyone has been giving a lot of attention to one main factor in day to day life. How are we going to make the roads safer?
Companies such as Tesla, Google and BMW are producing autonomous cars that will require little to no supervision from the person sitting in the drivers seat. These companies are focusing on creating a vehicle that will reduce the amount of traffic accidents and DUI arrests.
Right now, there are approximately 30 companies developing, manufacturing, and releasing autonomous cars as you read this article! These cars are street legal and being tested in Nevada, California, and Florida at this time.
We already know of some big names that are producing these kind of vehicles.
Tesla has 3 models that have the autonomous capabilities which are Model S, Model 3, and Model X. Mercedes has the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury. Google is also another leader in the self driving car concept and they are working on their own autonomous project. All of these companies and more are in the race to find the most effective self driving car that will make our roads much safer and reduce annual deaths by human error or DUI’s.
Auto pilot cars are being run by a computer, which is considered an ideal motorist. Approximately 90 percent of accidents on the road are caused by human error, such as speeding, driving while inebriated, not wearing a seat belt, drowsy driving, and distracted driving. On the other hand, computers are using complicated algorithms to determine how to operate a vehicle and remain attentive to its surroundings. Self driving car computers are able to determine stopping distance and distance from other vehicles as well as even communicate with the other auto pilot vehicles with a behavior known as platooning, making the drive much safer and reducing traffic incidents.
Nevada alone had 321 traffic fatalities in 2015. Nevada has made progress in the number of traffic injuries and fatalities since 2004, but may slowly creep upwards, without autonomous vehicles.
In Nevada there were approximately 1,025 deaths from 2003 to 2012 involving drunk drivers.
In the United States there are over 37,000 people who die in accidents per year. Not accounting for the additional 2.35 million people who have been injured or disabled due to car accidents. A number of these accidents are easily preventable. Most of the accidents occur because of distracted driving or people driving under the influence.
There are currently two types of self driving cars. There are semi-autonomous and fully autonomous. The fully autonomous vehicles, which are projected to show up in 2019, have the ability to drive from the beginning location to its destination. These specific cars will be able to come across any sort of on-road scenario and get to the destination safely, without needing any sort of interaction from the driver themselves.
It is projected that by 2020 there will be 10 million autonomous cars on the road!
With this said, what are the pros and cons of people operating autonomous cars, which we all know will be the new rage. There are a few main points that make autonomous cars seem like they are going to be the best thing that has happened to humanity.
Disabled persons will be able to drive in the comfort of their own car and not have to worry about catching busses or using alternative transportation that could cost more money over time. People who are unable to see or have loss in vision will be free to travel wherever they like without worrying about dangerous road conditions.
When a computer has taken over the driving responsibilities, an individual in the driver seat can basically use that time to do whatever they want. People can take pictures, Facebook, catch up on homework they didn’t do the night before, or even drink.
Accidents and incidents from people driving drunk should decrease because the driver is not really driving the vehicle. This should leave officers to focus their attention on more serious crimes.
This raises much concern about what people will be inclined to do while they are in an autonomous car. The main concern is how these cars will affect people drinking while driving. Will autonomous cars make this a common thing you see while driving to and from work or school?
It seems as if autonomous cars may lead to an increased number of individuals driving drunk, thinking the vehicle will just drive itself. California’s Act to add autonomous cars to the vehicle code addresses this directly by stating the vehicle will be operated “by a driver who possesses the proper class of license for the type of vehicle being operated if specified requirements are met, including that the driver be seated in the driver’s seat, monitoring the safe operation of the autonomous vehicle, and capable of taking over”
Autonomous cars may have some sort of malfunction that will need the driver to take over. If someone is drinking behind the wheel, becomes inebriated, then a software malfunction occurs, the driver will have to be responsible to take control of the vehicle.
It is possible to be arrested for a DUI in Nevada, or any other state who legalizes autonomous cars, even if you are in the driver’s seat of an autonomous vehicle since you were in the car and could take control of the vehicle at any time. There are still actions that the driver need to do to get the autonomous card functioning. An individual would need to start the car, input navigation directions, and may even need to intervene if there is an emergency. Even though it is a self driving car, the inebriated individual is still considered the driver.
Even though Autonomous cars are not a definite solution to DUI’s or DWI’s, they are up and coming. Most of these vehicles come with a very hefty price tag, such as Tesla’s models. Tesla has just opened up a manufacturing facility outside of Reno, Nevada and if you live here, you are starting to see an increase of their models driving on Nevada roads. Traffic incidents and Nevada DUI arrests should definitely decrease within the next few years due to these autonomous cars, but they are not 100% foolproof. By 2020, we hope to see a decrease in traffic incidents with autonomous vehicles. Hopefully these companies that are producing them can incorporate a level of sophistication in the cars that can detect if someone is trying to operate the vehicle while under the influence. We can be assured that as of right now, Google is working on this type of technology while developing their autonomous vehicles.
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