Can We Rely on Driverless Cars to Be Safe?
According to Kelley Blue Book, truly driverless cars remain theoretical. Further, there are no cars currently on our roads in which the drivers can even remove their hands from the wheel – except under exacting conditions. This makes the question of “are these vehicles safe” challenging to answer. Let’s take a closer look.
Categorizing Driverless Cars
Self-driving cars are divided into two groups that include driver support and autonomous systems. Systems that offer driver support take some of the load off the driver, and examples include:
- Assistance with lane-keeping
- Adaptive (or intelligent) cruise control
- Hands-free capabilities
Autonomous systems, on the other hand, don’t require a driver’s assistance. There are no vehicles on our roads that are truly autonomous, but there is a rideshare project in the beginning stages.
Levels of Autonomy
There are six levels of self-driving vehicles that range from Level 0 to Level 5. At level 0, the driver’s input remains the driving force. And at Level 5, the vehicle in question can completely drive itself and, as a result, has no steering wheel or pedals. This is where things become completely theoretical. None of the so-called driverless cars in this country exceed Level 2, which allows drivers to go hands-free momentarily – but requires their complete attention. In other words, truly driverless vehicles are further away than car manufacturers would have us believe, and the degree of safety involved will need to be assessed in accordance with technological advancements.
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