Automation will not understand human signals. Even, autonomous vehicles

Automation is the use of a
technology or machine to complete a duty or function that was previously
carried out by a human. In vehicle, automation involves use of camera, radar
and various sensors to accumulate information about a vehicle’s surroundings.
This collected data is processed by computer programs to perform parts or all
the driving task on a continuous basis. 1 The continuous development of
automotive technology aims to deliver even higher safety advantage, and one-day
Automated Driving Systems (ADS) can handle all the functions of driving when we
don’t wish or can’t do it our-self. ADS innovations help vehicle to see, think
and act. 2

In today’s motor vehicles, driver
assistance technologies are already helping in saving lives and preventing
injuries. One of the critical and tragic fact is that, 94% of serious crashes occurred
due to human error. As per other statistics in 2016, more than 37,461 people
died in motor vehicle-related crashes in the U.S. Automated vehicles have the
potential to remove human error from the crash equation, which will help
protect and save life of drivers and passengers, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.
Since 1975, the U.S. population is growing steadily. The road traffic deaths
rate per 100,000 people, in 2016, is reduced to half of what it was 40 years
ago. 3 This is being achieved via implementing the five eras of safety:
Safety/Convenience Features, Advanced Safety Features, Advanced Driver
Assistance Features, Partially Automated Safety Features and Fully Automated
Safety Features among which last two plays a vital role in accomplishing
‘Vision Zero Accidents’ in coming decades. 24

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Along with such lifesaving
benefits of autonomous vehicle, there are still many major flaws. Google car involved
in minor crashes shows the hazards of sharing the road with human drivers. A
fatal crash between a Tesla Model S (in “Autopilot” mode) and a tractor-trailer
in May 2016 highlighted questions about the limits of the technology. 5 Also,
if other technology fails, taking an example of traffic signals that the cars depends
on, there’s no accounting for human traffic signals that is in case of an
accident where a traffic is directed by police officer, the cars will not understand
human signals. Even, autonomous vehicles are not yet ready to operate at a high
level of safety in all weather conditions. Furthermore, a self-driving car
doesn’t eliminate the possibility of a car accidents. In fact, there’s no legal
precedent for how to handle such case. On top of all, Electronics systems in
cars presently have no or limited security measures. Use of autonomous vehicle
will still demand driver’s education. Purpose of self-driving cars will not be
served unless they are widely adopted. 6

Though there are many concerns related to
autonomous vehicles, but the potential benefits of autonomous vehicle are
immense. Thousands of lives could be saved by preventing crashes caused by
driver-related factors. Within few decades, Fully Automated Vehicle (Level 5
vehicle) can perform the entire driving task without driver’s input, under all
conditions that a person could perform. Looking at the technology advance pace
in implementation of autonomous vehicles, the ‘Vision Zero Accidents’ is not
far away. 


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