Will Autonomous Cars Improve Tennessee Road Safety?

Firefighters helping an injured woman in a carAccording to Tennessee’s transportation chief, we are on the verge of a paradigm shift thanks to self-driving cars, which present the biggest challenge for road planners since the invention of the automobile. Self-driving cars could be described as a revolution that could dramatically alter the priorities of road designers – as well as the safety of your daily commute.

In the United States, 33,000 people lose their lives in traffic accidents every year. A Google representative once compared that number to a 737 falling out of the sky and crashing nearly five days a week for the entire year, something that would be completely unacceptable in the world of air travel. More than 90 percent of these auto accidents are due to human error – something that computers do not have to worry about.

While complete automation has yet to be achieved on a wide scale, active safety features such as forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking have already reduced rear-end crashes by 40 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Do People Want Fully Autonomous Vehicles?

Despite the potential benefits, there has been some resistance to the idea of a fully autonomous future. A recent survey by Volvo indicated that over 92 percent of respondents still wanted a steering wheel in future vehicles so that they can take over driving at any moment. Another study by AAA showed 84 percent of respondents not wanting semi-autonomous features in their next vehicle, because they trust their own driving ability over a computer’s.

But, in the immortal words often attributed to Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, the would have said faster horses.”

Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”



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