Driverless Cars Trying to Gain Traction on US Roads
Tad Thomas, Esq.
In today’s technologically driven world, do you ever wonder why cars aren’t made to be safer machines? Or how companies like GM can get away with selling dangerous vehicles for nearly a decade? While there is debate and some evidence that points to a decline in the driving culture of America, there are still thousands of people on the road everyday. More concerning, nearly 4,000 people are killed and more than 100,000 injured every year because of truck accidents (CNBC).
Imagine a car with a setting that will only let you go as fast as the car in front of you. A car that will alert you when you get too close or veer from your lane. These new technologies, named ‘enhanced cruised control’ and ‘lane departure warnings’ may be a part of the future, but its difficult to say when in the future. Slowing down their arrival on the roads are cost concerns, customer choice (drivers may prefer brands that don’t offer ‘safe cars’), and the gamut of regulation (new cars mean new rules).
Companies like Volvo and Daimler are banking on the new market for safety, but the American Trucking Association estimates that only 10% of trucks have some kind of active safety technology. Daimler has shown an autonomous truck, and says it would like to seem them on the road by 2025. The UK seems to be the first country on board for such a change, setting forth £10 million (US$17 million) to test driverless cars on public roads starting in January 2015.
Let’s hope the US gets with the UK trend sooner than later…Currently, only four states have legislation and effort dedicated to the dawn of the driverless car and its potential for safer roads.