#005 Fatal Crashes Caused by Self-driving Technology

#005 Fatal Crashes Caused by Self-driving Technology

A new era in transportation has already begun. We can see autonomous vehicles on the roads of almost every developed country in the world. In recent few years, self- driving cars have started moving alongside with real cars driving on real streets with people inside. Many people probably think that the future with fully autonomous vehicles is around the corner and that in few years from now cities will resemble scenes from science fiction movies. But prepare for a disappointment. With technology, when concept meets reality, things never go as intended. The main reason for that may be seen in frequent accidents caused by autonomous vehicles.

A primary goal of self- driving car manufacturers has been to create a system that is clearly safer than an average human-controlled car. However, due to accidents and fatalities resulting from autonomous cars, people generally believe that self-driving cars are more dangerous than human-driven ones. Unfortunately, the lack of trust could slow down the development process. If the car manufacturers do not solve this problem the arrival of a truly autonomous car may be significantly delayed.

In last couple of years multiple accidents involving autonomous vehicles have occurred. Here is the list of fatal crashes that are potentially caused by self-driving technology.

January, 2016Tesla Model S

The crash took place on 20th January, 2016., and killed Gao Yaning, when Tesla Model S, he was driving slammed into a road sweeper on a highway near Handan, a city about 300 miles south of Beijing. When it was approaching the road sweeper, the car didn’t put on the brake or tried to avoid it. Instead, it crashed right into it.

The report includes in-car video looking through the windshield as the car travels in the left lane at highway speed just before ramming into a parked or slow-moving orange truck. The video, apparently shot by a camera mounted on the rear view mirror, recorded no images. However, sounds or jolts that would suggest the driver or the car hit the brakes before impact. At that point, the in-car video ends.

7 May, 2016Tesla Model S

The accident occurred in Williston, Florida, when the driver, Joshua Brown of Ohio put his Model S into Tesla’s autopilot mode, which was able to control the car during highway driving.

Against a bright spring sky, the car’s sensors system failed to distinguish a large white 18-wheel truck and trailer crossing the highway. The car attempted to drive full speed under the trailer with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.

18 March, 2018Volvo XC90

An autonomous Uber car killed Elaine Herzberg in the street in Arizona in the first fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in the United States. Herzberg was pushing a bicycle across a four-lane road in Tempe, Arizona, when she was struck by an Uber test vehicle, which was operating in self-drive mode with a human safety backup driver sitting in the driving seat. Following the collision, Herzberg was taken to the hospital where she died of her injuries.

23 March, 2018Tesla Model X

Walter Huang, a 38-year-old Apple Inc. engineer, driving in “autopilot” mode died after his Model X sped up and steered into a concrete highway barrier in Mountain View, California. His relatives have contacted both investigators and news sources to say that Huang had reported an issue with the car’s Autopilot mode to his dealership between seven and ten times.

Tesla Model X  fatal accident
Tesla crash, California [1]

March 1, 2019 – Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 slammed into a tractor-trailer attempting to cross a Florida highway traveling around 68 miles per hour, according to investigators who reviewed video footage from the car and nearby surveillance cameras. The impact sheared the roof off of the car, killing the driver, 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner. Investigators say Banner had engaged Autopilot about ten seconds before the crash, and did not have his hands on the wheels for up to eight seconds beforehand.

For the foreseeable future, the automated vehicle industry’s main goal should be safety of both drivers and pedestrians. This means a development of fully autonomous vehicles should proceed, but without further sacrificing of human lives.

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