The Chevrolet Bolt EV is an all-electric vehicle with one-pedal driving that can shift gears electronically. General Motors, who owns Chevrolet, has announced they will transform this model into a driverless car by 2019. The Cruise AV will not have a steering wheel or pedals. To communicate with the vehicle, passengers will use touchscreens.
About the Cruise AV
As autonomous vehicles become increasingly more popular, the concerns about their safety also rise. For instance, to deploy the Cruise AV for testing, GM must submit a petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because the car does not comply with 16 federal standards. This does not sit well with opponents of driverless cars. They argue that abiding by the government’s safety standards is more important than rushing this new technology to market.
However, the company states they will meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in other ways. For example, there can be no steering wheel airbag in a vehicle that does not have a steering wheel. GM proposes to put a passenger side airbag on the driver’s side.
Are Driverless Cars Safe Enough?
Although GM must release a safety report to the US Department of Transportation to help the government keep track of its progression, one question remains: How safe is safe enough? Many industry experts worry that each driver’s interpretation of autonomous vehicle safety and functionality could cause conflict.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a fatal accident involving Tesla’s Autopilot was caused by the driver’s overreliance on the system. Although Autopilot is not a self-driving car, the company has marketed its software as “full self-driving hardware.”
What’s the Alternative?
Will we really be able to read the newspaper while our cars chauffeur us around? Or should we continue to be aware of road obstacles? These uncertainties could make it more difficult for driverless cars to be widely accepted as “safe,” but proponents argue traditional cars are more dangerous. Waiting for driverless cars to be flawless before allowing them on the road could cost more lives.
Although 54% of drivers surveyed by AAA feel less safe sharing the road with autonomous vehicles, more than one million people have died in traffic accidents since 1990. According to the NHTSA, “94 percent of serious crashes are due to dangerous choices or errors people make behind the wheel.” Could self-driving cars that are never drunk, tired or distracted drastically reduce traffic collisions over time?
No matter what vehicle you drive, there is always the chance of a car crash. If you find yourself in this situation, turn to Trantolo & Trantolo’s team of motor vehicle accident lawyers. Contact one of our four Connecticut office locations to pursue your claim today.