There has been quite a stir in the high-tech auto industry, and Tesla seems to be leading the pack in innovative advances to automated vehicles in 2021. But with the newest features allowing drivers to play video games while on the road, the focus seems to be less on safety and more about sparkle and glitz.
While the auto industry has made many improvements to automated safety and assistance features that improve highway safety, there is a fine line between driver assistance and driver distraction. With driver impairment or distraction incidents rising in Kentucky and across the country in the past two years, it is important not to lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is to save lives.
What is an AI vision of the future?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has long touted automated driving systems (ADS) as the path to greater safety benefits, spelling out a vision of the direction that new technologies will provide toward this goal. Starting from the observance of 36,096 motor vehicle deaths in 2019, the NHTSA has outlined five eras of automotive technology that are leading toward the goal of full automation:
- 1950 to 2000, safety features such as antilock brakes and cruise control
- 2000 to 2010, advanced safety features like collision or drifting warnings and blind spot detection
- 2010 to 2016, advanced driver assistance, such as automatic emergency braking, rearview video and lane centering systems
- 2016 to 2025, partially automated safety features like adaptive cruise control or self-park
- 2025 and on, highway autopilot
Further categorizing the levels of driver assistance technologies in cars currently on the road, the NTHSA cites six levels of automation, from zero, where the vehicle is fully manual, to level five, the stage that Tesla is testing in its autopilot system.
And the trolley problem?
It turns out, the achievement of full automation may come at the expense of judgement when it comes to driverless cars. Called the “trolley problem”, the more basic issue is whether the auto industry can teach AI to make grave decisions that put life and death in the balance, especially if a crash is inevitable.
Allowing drivers to be more distracted while giving them less control over the mechanical aspects of driving effectively eliminates not only the human in the vehicle, but also the human’s connection to others on the road. Having less responsibility behind the wheel may also pose serious questions of liability when accidents do happen. Maybe the answer is to focus more on safety and less on full automation.
For residents of Louisville and surrounding areas, getting compensation after a serious accident can be challenging, especially when insurance companies either won’t pay up or delay claims. If your accident happened because of another driver’s negligence, it is essential to get information on how to proceed that will maximize your settlement.