Oops, They Did it Again – More Self Driving Car Accidents to Come

US DOT and Michael Ehline

Ehline attends US traffic safety hearings.

For all of the talk about the safety and reliability of self driving cars, they sure do get into a lot of accidents. They don’t receive as much press as they should. Instead, we tend to read about all of the positive attributes of the so-called self driving cars without the potential dangers. Each day there is a further risk of crashes involving SDCs. One of the key issues involves technology not catching up to promises.

Part of the issue is that all of the SDC programs are pilots under controlled conditions. As the New York Times reported last year, a Tesla self driving car caused a fatal accident for the first time. Considering the limited miles of these types of cars, this is truly astonishing.

The potential for further crashes is unknown. The Guardian reported on a crash just three months later which saw Google’s self driving car wrecked. In this case the accident was so bad that the Google Lexus loaded on a flatbed truck and driven away. These are just two of the major examples. Further ones happen all of the time. Each one shows the clear drawbacks to the technology. Each one also shows that the promises made have far outpaced the technical know how.

Solving Tomorrow’s Problems After Tomorrow

Self driving cars are coming any minute. Well, maybe not so much. Ambitious projections of SDCs hitting the market in 2015, 2016, and 2017 haven’t borne fruit just yet. Instead, we find out that the process of driving is one that only a human can handle so far. Decades more research and trial and error are needed before the technology becomes good enough to trust a family’s life to.

Instead, these ambitious promises are compiled and used as examples of putting one foot too far out too soon. Consumers know better. Sooner rather than later so will the companies making all of these fancy prognostications.