Autonomous cars have been hailed as the transportation of the future. The companies behind the technology claim that the vehicles will revolutionize travel and lead to safer roads.
Unfortunately an incident last week proved that the technology is not foolproof.
Are autonomous cars safe? Can we trust the technology?
Testing of autonomous vehicle ends in tragedy
In the race to become a leader in the industry companies such as Uber have taken their self-driving technology to the streets. Tragically the excitement proved to be short-lived. Last week safety critics’ worst fears were confirmed when a pedestrian was struck and killed by an autonomous vehicle while crossing the street in Arizona. It has been reported to be the first death involving self-driving technology and the accident has left many questioning who or what is to blame.
Video shows vehicle failing to yield to pedestrian
Tempe’s police department released a video that could provide some insight in determining what caused the crash. In the video you can see a man behind the wheel of the autonomous vehicle. When reviewing the footage it appears that the vehicle’s passenger – who could have taken over in the event of a technological failure- was looking away from the road just before the crash. The video also shows the pedestrian crossing the street illegally with her bike when she was struck.
Investigators will determine why the vehicle failed to yield to the pedestrian when the road conditions were dry and clear and why the passenger did not take over before the crash.
In the past carmakers have boasted that the vehicle’s safety features would be enough to prevent collisions like the one in Arizona. Unfortunately, it appears that the technology still has a long way to go before we can expect to see autonomous vehicles on the roads in our community. Many states’ lawmakers have yet to enact legislation to regulate the technology but this crash could make state legislators think twice before they allow the vehicles on the roads again.