The autonomous car or ‘driverless cars’ are really factoring into the UK governments plans for industry, as they believe that in the next 17 years, the business of self-driving cars could be worth £28billion. Proposals for new car insurance laws and codes of practice are popping up in these discussions as we try to be in the driving seat of this potentially lucrative industry.
We know that driverless drivers will be a game changer; we know it will potentially make a lot of people a lot of money, but what will it mean for road safety? As of 2015, there were 1,616 fatalities a year on our roads and over 20,000 severe causalities. UK solicitors Your Legal Friend recently weighted in on the technological developments that are set to affect road safety in the UK. As representatives of victims of car accidents, they’re pretty interested in anything that changes the game for road safety. (If you’re interested in how Your Legal Friend handles car accident cases, you can click here to check out their FAQ).
As pointed out by Your Legal Friend, in 2015, researchers predicted that driverless cars could save 300,000 lives a decade (in the US). The technology will theoretically remove the margin for human error but success will depend wholly on our willingness to adopt the technology. We’re looking at a time window where driverless cars and driven cars will need to co-exist on the roads, which could potentially see accidents rise rather than fall.
There are about 1.2 million fatalities, resulting from road accidents, every year in the world. Driverless cars are set to come with a wealth of features, the most important of which, would sense if and when, a car was about to crash. Autonomous cars will respond to situations in order to keep its inhabitant safe. Controversially, there have been discussions about how this technology will be used ethically in the event of a crash; will they be coded to make choices that could, hypothetically, kill a person in order to save more people if there is an accident.
Another safety consideration is taxis. Uber has famously invested in driverless technology, potentially hinting a future where you could call a driverless private hire car. This could lower the costs of taking a taxi and reduce the risk a person can be faced with when getting into a taxi. We’ve already seen technology used to increase safeguarding measures for those taking a private hire car. GPS can now track a drivers location and apps can provide a record of who booked a car and when. Driverless cars could see a potential future where there is no risk posed to passengers by unlicensed cabbies, creating the potential for a serious reduction in crime.
The future of autonomous cars is exciting, this recent wired post gives details of all the planned tests for driverless cars in the UK, so you can stay on top of all the latest developments.