Thursday, August 25, 2022

Are Self-Driving Cars Dangerous?

Tesla Model S
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has done a ten-month survey on crashes involving Level 2 automation in vehicles. As Car and Driver reports:

The U.S. agency [NHTSA]... published the initial results of that data collection, which reveals hundreds of crashes with vehicles using Level 2 driver-assistance technology.

Level 2 driver-assistance technology is described as:

This means advanced driver assistance systems or ADAS. The vehicle can control both steering and accelerating/decelerating. Here the automation falls short of self-driving because a human sits in the driver’s seat and can take control of the car at any time. Tesla Autopilot and Cadillac (General Motors) Super Cruise systems both qualify as Level 2. 

 NHTSA found that 392 crashes happened in a ten-month period. Most were Teslas with 272 crashes (or 69.4% of them). Probably because Tesla has the most level 2 cars on the road.

A NHTSA spokesman said that it's too early to draw conclusions. The accidents still might be driver-error. Or they might have been caused by the car. I had a near-accident where I was glad I didn't have driver assist of any kind because I was able, through my skill, to avoid the accident.

It'll be interesting to see what NHTSA comes up with as its conclusion. And what, if any, policy changes come as a result. Meanwhile, Ralph Nader has called for Tesla's autopilot to be recalled.

What do you think of driver assist technology? Do you think it's safe. Let me know in the comments below.

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