Rand Corporation stated “Allowing wide use of autonomous vehicles when they are just 10 percent better than current American drivers could prevent thousands of road fatalities over the next 15 years and possibly hundreds of thousands of fatalities over 30 years, researchers found, compared to waiting until they are 75 percent or 90 percent better.” and we already have guests on Fox News calling for an end to autonomous vehicles. An Uber autonomous car with a human driver killed Elaine Herzberg while she was walking a bike across an intersection in Arizona and we know we will suffer some injuries and even fatalities as we research this new technology. We must mourn these lost heroes but not lose sight of our goal to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Human drivers need to be strictly trained they are the drivers and must be vigilant every second especially when in the vicinity of unprotected road users. These cars are already safer than human drivers which are killing people in the tens of thousands. NHTSA reported 37,461 fatalities in 2016. We must have journalists that report on technology in a calm and deliberative manner with due diligence in their pre-reporting research. Hysterics will kill large numbers of people, period!
We need other road users to have available technology now to help these increasing numbers of autonomous cars see and recognize them. Radar friendly targets or jackets would help this situation, things that might reflect radar making people more visible to the technology. We need contrasting clothing colors that would be most effective, where is the research and products? In areas where these cars are concentrated we need public service training for drivers and pedestrians to be aware of these well-marked vehicles and to use extra caution as research continues. There have been some recent breakthroughs in computer and AI technology that will improve things vastly in the next year or so. We need to be patient and persevere while we mourn those that will be lost to save so many people in the future!
Here are some links to RAND safety articles and a NY Times report on the Uber crash:
Nov 7, 2017
RAND press release:
NY Times Article: