Confusion Reigns as Driverless Cars Approach
Earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that self-driving cars have arrived. “They can drive on the highway,” she said, “Follow the white lines on the highway, and there’s really no need for any person to be seated and controlling any of the instruments.”
Chao was wrong. Driverless cars are not ready yet to begin rolling around Lake Charles and thousands of other American cities. Chao’s confusion is understandable, according to a recent article in Wired. Though the auto industry is working furiously to develop autonomous vehicles, it has done a poor job of making it clear exactly what driverless cars will and won’t be able to do.
One thing virtually everyone in the auto industry is clear about, however, is the claim that driverless technology will help to ease congestion and reduce the risks of auto accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Even though Chao heads the federal government’s Transportation Department, she is apparently just like ordinary Americans who are struggling to understand a bewildering maze of terms about the emerging technologies. “Consumers every day are seeing this conflation of automated vehicles, self-driving vehicles, and autonomous vehicles,” said a policy analyst with Eno Center, a transportation think tank.
Because various configurations of driverless vehicles are headed to our streets and highways one day soon, the confusion over what exactly the technologies will deliver might ultimately be dangerous for motorists, Wired states.
Some systems might work only on certain types of roads. Others will keep vehicles in their lanes, but will not be able to navigate sharp turns alone. Others in development will be suited for most driving situations, but will require the person behind the wheel to signal the onboard computer every few minutes or the system will disengage — and put that human in charge.
How will the competing technologies be sorted out? No one knows that yet. But the goal of making transportation safer for you and your loved ones is certainly admirable.
If you’ve been in a car accident, we are here to help. Contact our team of experienced Lake Charles car accident lawyers today for a consultation.