Are Driverless Cars Safer Cars?

Are Driverless Cars Safer Cars?

Wall Street Journal article states that industry officials are saying automotive executives touting self-driving cars should focus on the vehicles' impact on safety.

An article in the Wall Street Journal states that industry officials are saying automotive executives touting self-driving cars should focus on the vehicles’ impact on safety.

“If you want to create a car technology with mass adoption, it needs to be about safety,” says Amnon Shashua, chairman of Mobileye NV, a supplier of assisted-driving technology. Mobileye develops machine-vision chips and software.

According to Shashua, its chips by 2018 will be used on a car that takes over steering if the driver has a heart attack, falls asleep at the wheel or becomes otherwise incapacitated. In 2013, there were 543 fatal crashes in the U.S. involving drivers who were ill at the time of the crash, including those suffering from diabetic reactions, seizure, heart attack, high or low blood pressure and fainting, according to data by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, an arm of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An earlier study found driver incapacitation to be the sole or main cause of 6.4 percent of 723 crashes sampled. In 4.4 percent of the crashes, the driver fell asleep, and in 2 percent, the driver experienced a seizure, heart attack or blackout.

Driverless car technology faces an uncertain regulatory environment. While development of systems that let cars drive themselves is rapidly evolving, regulators in major automotive markets have not yet set full policies to govern public use. Mark Rosekind, head of NHTSA, says the agency is reviewing federal vehicle-safety rules to see if they conflict with autonomous driving capabilities.

To read the full article, click here.

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