The appeal of self-driving vehicles should be especially strong here in Franklin County. With multiple interstate highways roaring through our heavily populated part of central Ohio, we know full well that motor vehicle crashes can result in terrible injuries and tragic loss of life. After all, if self-driving cars live up to their promise, there would be far fewer wrecks on highways, streets and roads.
Automakers such as GM, Tesla, Ford and Volkswagen are developing autonomous vehicles on their own, while others have forged strategic alliances with technology companies (BMW and Intel, for instance). Tech rivals such as Google and Apple are also in the race to develop a vehicle that will be able to safely drive itself.
Outside of the comfort zone
While corporate giants are devoting enormous resources to the development of self-driving cars, the American public is not yet sold on the idea. In fact, very few are ready to embrace autonomous vehicles. According to a recent AAA survey, only 14 percent of drivers would be comfortable riding in a self-driving vehicle.
AAA reports that 86 percent of drivers “would be afraid to ride in an automated vehicle.”
The survey does offer hope for the companies so deeply invested in developing fully automated vehicles, however. More than half of drivers (58 percent) want their next vehicle to be equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as automatic emergency braking and lane assistance. A sizable majority of drivers (80 percent) said they’re anticipating improvements to the safety technologies.
As part of their arguments on behalf of their self-driving vehicles, developers point to a statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: 94 percent of crashes are due to human error. That’s a number they’re determined to reduce with sophisticated technologies.
For now, the companies continue the race to develop and test sensors, software and vehicles, hoping to one day soon offer a safer way to travel.