While still in the early phases, most major auto companies are working on autonomous car projects. Most designs are a combination of sensor and AI blended navigation with the ability for a human operator to take over.
“Most companies are looking forward to the future where a vehicle handles the driving independently of a person,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.
A recent survey from AAA found 22 percent of drivers felt car manufacturers should focus on self-driving cars, while 80 percent felt car manufacturers should make improving safety a priority. 86 percent of the respondents said they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle.
Their apprehension is understandable considering recent incidents with autonomous vehicles. Saturday, a Tesla in Autopilot mode crashed into a Florida Highway Patrol car pulled over on the side of the road in Orlando.
The Associated Press recently reported a federal investigation is currently being conducted into Tesla’s partially automated driving system after nearly a dozen crashes involving emergency responder vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the Tesla probe after tallying 11 crashes since 2018. According to the report, most accidents took place after dark where first responders used flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards. In those crashes 17 people were injured and one killed. The involved vehicles were using Tesla’s Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control when the vehicles were hit.
The National Transportation Safety Board has also investigated Tesla crashes recommending Tesla limit the autopilots use to areas where it can safely operate. Auto pilot has frequently been misused by Tesla drivers, some of whom have been caught drunk driving or even riding in the backseat while the car was driving down the highway.
Until more issues are worked out, Americans will want to remain behind the wheel and in control, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.
Tesla is not the only company experiencing problems with their self-driving cars. Last week Toyota’s self-driving pod had a collision with a visually impaired athlete at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.