You may have heard that Google is developing self-driving autonomous cars. You may have also heard that one had a bit of a crash recently. Well, it was more of a scrape.
“Oh no”, the world collectively cried, this could be a little dangerous. It sparked debates and comments. Is this the future? Will you ever sit in a self-driving automobile?
It was Google that put out the press release of the accident and has then gone on the explain it in-depth. But why would they do that?
Picture a scene. The first time someone gets badly injured in a self-driving car crash. Or worse, someone dies. Mass uproar is surely the reaction. As much as I hope that something serious does not happen, I also feel that it is inevitable.If you stop to think about it, driving is very dangerous. More so than catching a train or flying. Accidents happen all the time, some with dire consequences. Just with the sheer volume of cars on the road worldwide, even the most intelligent automated car will have an accident at some point.
If you stop to think about it, driving is very dangerous. More so than catching a train or flying. Accidents happen all the time, some with dire consequences. Just with the sheer volume of cars on the road worldwide, even the most intelligent automated car will have an accident at some point.
Now for my theory about this first “crash” and why Google immediately told the world. It gets us in the mindset that things might not go to plan 100% of the time. No one was injured and no vehicles were badly damaged. Take some negative press now, sure, but it softens the blow later on. The debate and discussion has helped bring back the harsh reality that roads are dangerous. If this is the case, it is very shrewd crisis management and forward planning.
To prove this, in the days after the crash, US Transport Secretary Anthony Foxx has stated a crash “was no surprise” and not to compare the technology to “perfection”.
At this early stage, a pat on the back from me, Google.
In the meantime, check out autonomous driving modes you can buy and use right now, in the UK, fitted to Tesla cars. It may be a bit difficult to envisage a totally autonomous car right now, but elements of the technology are already seeping through. Eyes peeled.