Why Do Drivers Feel Less Safe With Autonomous Vehicles on the Road?
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Twenty years ago, the thought of seeing a fully autonomous car on the road seemed like nothing more than a fantasy. However, thanks to the ever-growing world of technology, that dream is now a reality. Cars with autopilot features can now be found driving on the road.
While this new technology is being embraced by some drivers, other motorists have safety concerns about sharing the roadways with an autonomous vehicle.
Self-driving cars are going to create a whole new set of challenges | Twenty20
New technology could make driving a thing of the past
Since 2016, Elon Musk has been working with his company to create fully autonomous vehicles. Currently, Tesla vehicles can come with an autopilot feature. This system allows the car to automatically perform certain tasks without the assistance of the driver.
While this system is impressive, it currently requires a driver to be present in the driver’s seat while the autopilot is turned on. Musk hopes to have the first driverless car on the market within a year or two, though TechCrunch reports that there are still some delays in making fully-autonomous vehicles a reality.
Other automotive manufacturers are working on their own self-driving technology and hope to have it commercially available within the next few years. In fact, many ridesharing and commercial freight companies have stated that they hope to eliminate the need for a driver for their vehicles by 2024.
Some motorists do not want to share the roadways with autonomous vehicles
As more automotive companies are starting to test out their vehicles’ autonomous features, more drivers are starting to voice their concerns. According to a recent survey by Auto Blog, as much as 53% of drivers feel unsafe when sharing a road with a self-driving vehicle.
Recently, Google announced that it is also interested in producing autonomous vehicles. According to HG.org, Google reported that it had tested its self-driving vehicle on the roadway. The autonomous vehicle logged several thousand hours of test time and never got into a single accident.
This would suggest that self-driving cars are just as safe as non-autonomous vehicles. However, Auto Blog also reports that only around 11% of drivers feel safe with an autonomous vehicle on the road.
Helping drivers feel safe while sharing the road with self-driving cars
In order to get to a point where self-driving cars are a normal part of driving, other motorists must get comfortable sharing the roadways with these innovative vehicles. Many states have tried to implement their own rules and laws regarding self-driving vehicles in order to ensure that everyone on the road feels safe.
Michigan, for instance, has announced that it will create a lane on the road that is completely dedicated to autonomous vehicles. The state will soon start construction on an autonomous bus corridor that will stretch between Ann Arbor and Detroit.
When it comes to testing autonomous vehicles on the roadways, some automakers believe it would be best to mark the vehicle so that other drivers know it’s autonomous. Other automakers have considered designating an entire lane to the self-driving car or even designating a specific time to test the vehicle on the roadway.
The reality of self-driving cars
There are pros and cons to the previous safety suggestions. On one hand, having a designated lane and time to test the autonomous vehicle could help to ease the minds of other drivers on the road.
However, to thoroughly test the vehicle, the traffic would need to be as close to normal as possible. If other drivers knew about a scheduled time to test the autonomous vehicle, they may choose not to drive on the roads at that time. This could create an unnatural traffic volume.
Whether we like it or not, there is no denying that self-driving vehicles will be a major part of driving in the near future. The best way to reduce the fear is to educate drivers about this new technology. Once drivers can fully understand how autonomous vehicles work, they will be more likely to feel comfortable sharing the road.