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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Newest Tech to Keep Drivers Safe? Cars that Drive Themselves

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Vehicle safety technology continues to evolve.   Features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems, once available as options only on high-end cars, have now made their way into the standard trim levels of mainstream vehicles.  The level of technology and connectivity has surged, with many vehicles now able to communicate with smartphone apps and give users an unprecedented sense of security.  So far, though, nothing has been completely successful in reducing perhaps the chief culprit in most auto accidents: driver error.

No Driver? No Problem.

The most obvious solution to eliminate driver error is to remove the driver from the equation.  Autonomous cars have been around for a long time – longer than most people think – but have recently become more realistic as a viable consumer option.  The highly publicized debut of Google’s driverless car has put some wind in the sails of this science fiction staple.  Using a combination of optical sensors and radar, autonomous cars can guide the vehicle down the road and read road signage.  And while we’re still a ways away from having a driverless car in every garage, these cutting edge vehicles could eliminate some of the most unsafe driving behaviors like distracted driving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving.

Not 100% Safe

Even as technology advances by leaps and bounds, it remains unlikely that vehicular travel will ever be 100% safe.  Machines do malfunction from time to time, and even autonomous vehicles will require some interface or input from potentially impaired drivers.  There has even been an ethics debate brewing over the (hopefully unlikely) scenario in which the car may have to choose between 2 or more objectively bad outcomes, like hitting a bicyclist to avoid running over a group of children unexpectedly running into the street.

Science still has a little way to go, but it looks like the days of Knight Rider are nearly upon us.