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Are Self-Driving Cars Really Safer?

Self-driving cars will be here faster than most people think. Not only does Tesla already have its autopilot feature on the road, but many other developers are improving on their own artificially intelligent driving software.

Of course, this raises the question of safety. At this point, one must wonder if these cars really are as safer than typical cars on the road today. So here’s a closer toward the future of driving and the potential safety features and hazards of self-driving cars.

Removing the Human Element

Most major proponents would say that self-driving cars will eliminate many of the risks related to being on the road. This has very little to do with the technology and a great deal to do with taking the responsibility for driving out of human hands.

Think of all of the little laws you break every day when driving to work as well as all the risks you take to shave a few minutes off of your commute. Self-driving cars are incapable of making those decisions, so they will drive in a manner that’s far more safe than the average human driver.

Of course, these cars are also safe because they’re meant to work alongside one another. A network of self-driving cars will never have to deal with a traffic jam because self-driving cars won’t cause the problem in the first place. There’s no rubber-necking after an accident or failure to merge—self-driving cars follow the rules, and that means a greater degree of safety for everyone on the road.

Working Toward Safety

The truth is that Tesla accidents do happen, and they’re just as common with the other self-driving cars that are slowly making their way towards the market. It’s not that these cars aren’t safe—it’s just that they are still a very long ways away from being truly self-driving.

Tesla’s vehicles, for example, still require human oversight and are supposed to require drivers to stay alert while driving. The much-anticipated safety features that might come from having self-driving cars aren’t quite here yet because self-driving cars really haven’t quite made it on the roads.

The Bottom Line

Are self-driving cars really safer than those driven by humans? By the time they actually reach the market, it’s almost certain that they will be. There will always be accidents and other problems, but self-driving cars will minimize human error and hopefully lead to an era in which car accidents are the exception rather than the rule.

However, it will be some time until this technology is perfected, and those cars on the road now simply offer a greater level of automation than your typical car—without necessarily providing the same safety benefits.

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References:

What’s Safe Enough? | Science News

Self-Driving Car Accidents | Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger

Self-Driving Cars: The Complete Guide | WIRED

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