How Safe Are Self-Driving Cars?

Technology has come a long way over the past few decades, with the last couple of years being explosive. Self-driving cars used to be science fiction, something that many of you would have never dreamed would be around during your lifetime. But they are here. A vehicle that can drive without human interference is a beautiful thing that leaves our time for something other than driving. But the question comes up time and time again; how safe are self-driving cars?

What Are The Advantages Of A Self-Driving Car 2

As a general rule, self-driving cars are safe in most circumstances. The thing is, though, that there are 5 different levels of autonomous vehicles that you can purchase. Level 5 is the car that has the best safety ratings, while level 1 has some issues that need to be worked out. Let’s take a look at these 5 types of cars so you know what each of them is capable of, and you can decide how safe you feel.

  • Level One – These cars have driver assistance, such as adaptive cruise control on lane-centering capabilities. The human driver is still the one in charge, and is still esponsible to drive safely.
  • Level Two – This car has partial automation, but the human driver still needs to have their hands on the wheel, and they have to pay attention just like they were driving.
  • Level Three – This level of automation allows the driver to remove their hands from the wheel and take their attention off the road unless the car asks them to take over. From there, you will have about 10 seconds to take back control of the car.
  • Level Four – If the self-driving car is at level four, it can drive without your assistance, as long as it is in a controlled environment. There are places where the vehicle can drive itself and other areas you will have to take over.
  • Level Five – This is the future of cars. This vehicle can drive anywhere without you having to take over, and it is the cream of the crop for vehicles that can drive themselves.

Safety with self-driving cars can be hit and miss, depending upon which level the vehicle is built at. But the argument goes on, stating that even level one vehicles are more reliable than humans when the AI system is running the show. Unfortunately, the level five cars will not be around until 2025, but you can always hope for car manufacturing to come out with one sooner.

Now that you know about the different levels of self-driving cars, you can dig into the main question from above. Vehicles that can drive themselves are safe today, as long as you pay attention to the road. You will not be able to take a nap while the car takes over, and you will not be able to hit a button and sit back while the car takes over. Not yet, anyway. Let’s see how these vehicles improve the safety of the drivers and the drivers of all the other cars on the road.

  • Impaired Drivers – Accidents from human drivers that are impaired by drugs and alcohol will decrease by a substantial amount.
  • Fuel Efficiency – This may not be the type of safety feature you expect, but when you can save money on the cost of fuel you are more apt to be alert while behind the wheel. Plus, as a bonus, you will leave a smaller footprint on the world by saving the amount of gas you use.
  • Human Error – It has been found that over 94% of all accidents are caused by human error. Self-driving cars have already cut that percentage down and will continue to do so as technology improves.

Depending on what side of the argument you listen to, you will find that self-driving cars are safe. Most of them still rely upon you to drive when in tight areas, like in the midst of a traffic jam in the middle of downtown. But as we all move into the future, cars will continue to become less dependent upon human drivers. They will be safer than any human driver could ever be.