SELF-DRIVING CARS: ARE THEY SAFE?

Stories about self-driving cars have been regularly appearing in the news lately. However, questions have arisen regarding their safety once their use becomes widespread and they begin sharing the road with you and other Tennessee drivers.

In theory, self-driving cars should make driving safer for you since they take away all of the crash factors caused by human error according to CNBC. Your car currently requires you to decide when to brake, when you should accelerate and when to turn the wheel. The automation in self-driving cars makes all of these decisions for you. In addition, some of the biggest risks you face on the road right now are other drivers who are tired, intoxicated or distracted. A self-driving car takes all of those factors out the equation.

However, that does not necessarily mean that self-driving cars are infallible. The fact that they may potentially be hackable is alarming to many people. Imagine how terrifying it would be if you were riding along in your car and all of a sudden its controls were taken over by someone else. It is also unclear how self-driving cars will perform in inclement weather or in other difficult driving situations.

Unfortunately, developing a way to test how safe self-driving cars are is proving difficult. Since the technology is so new, the standards that are currently used to measure how safe your car is will likely not be applicable. Therefore, new ways of testing will have to be developed. The catch is that it could anywhere from decades to hundreds of years for self-driving cars to travel enough miles to determine how safe they are. As lawmakers look to regulate these vehicles, they will have to rely heavily on mathematical data and lab simulations. It remains to be seen whether or not that will be enough to ensure your safety once self-driving cars become mainstream.

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