Many drivers in West Virginia may wonder what type of impact developing technologies like autonomous cars could have on highway safety. While many people are excited about the technology due to its potential to regulate traffic and cut down on car accidents, many individuals worry about the decision-making capabilities of self-driving cars as well as the potential for software bugs or mechanical errors. However, one professor says that the biggest potential danger autonomous vehicles pose comes not from their robotic nature but rather from the role that humans play in designing and programming them.
The professor, who teaches engineering at Arizona State University, commented in response to news of the first pedestrian fatality caused in a car accident involving an autonomous vehicle in March 2018. He noted that the major technology companies pursuing self-driving technology are seeking to replicate a humanlike driving experience with a nonhuman driver. However, this also means that human fallibility could be built into the programming of an autonomous vehicle. Just as human drivers can cause car accidents due to the decisions that they make, autonomous vehicles could do the same when mimicking human choices.
For example, human drivers assume that if they do not see an obstacle in their path, the road is clear. Autonomous vehicles are often programmed to make similar assumptions. However, the computing power involved in these cars could also handle a different assumption: namely, that the road is blocked unless it can fully perceive that it is clear.
Of course, the vast majority of car accidents, severe injuries and even fatalities on the road are still caused by old-fashioned human drivers. People who have been injured in car accidents due to another driver’s dangerous or negligent driving can pursue compensation for their losses. A personal injury attorney can help accident victims recoup their damages after a crash.