Regardless of what any of us think about self-driving cars, you should rest assured that they are on their way to a road near you. Because these driverless vehicles are just getting their start, the self-driving car safety statistics are a bit thin, but they help to flesh out what we can expect as these space-age vehicles continue to gain a more significant presence – or near presence – on our roadways. If you have been injured in a car accident involving a self-driving car – or any other kind of vehicle – it’s time to take action by consulting with an experienced Texas crash attorney.
What’s In This Guide
- Self-Driving Car Safety Statistics
- Where We’re Headed
- The Evolution of Self-Driving Cars
- Taking It All In
Self-Driving Car Safety Statistics
According to Carsurance, which pulled its information from a variety of national sources, all of the following are true when it comes to self-driving vehicles:
- For the most part, the driverless vehicles on our roadways at this point are only partially independent driving vehicles (they still have what are commonly termed safety drivers within).
- By 2023, however, the self-driving vehicle market is expected to reach $37 billion, with North America accounting for 29 percent of the action.
- Every year, the self-driving vehicle industry grows by 16 percent globally.
- Waymo has about 600 self-driving vehicles, and according to QUARTZ, it will be putting driverless taxis (with a safety driver onboard) on San Francisco’s roads in the very near future (if they haven’t already).
- A bit more than half of all small business owners believe their fleets will be fully autonomous in about 20 years.
In terms of autonomous vehicle accident statistics, we have the following four primary insights:
- One: Over a 20-month stretch, Waymo’s self-driving cars were involved in 18 accidents.
- Two: Over the past 4 years, there have been 11 accidents involving Tesla’s self-driving vehicles.
- Three: Per million miles driven, there are about 9.1 self-driving vehicle accidents.
- Four: All told, Uber’s driverless test vehicles have caused about 37 accidents.
In other words, when it comes to driverless vehicles and how safe they will ultimately prove, it’s a mixed bag.
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Where We’re Headed
Some experts believe self-driving vehicles are the wave of the future, but to begin, many set their sights on 2020 being the year that things really heated up. 2020 came and went, and that prediction failed to land. There is no denying, however, that self-driving vehicles are marching steadily forward. Naysayers, on the other hand, have predicted doom and gloom from the beginning, but their vision has similarly failed to come true. In other words, when it comes to self-driving vehicles, we need to have a wait-and-see attitude (for now).
The Evolution of Self-Driving Cars
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the evolution of self-driving vehicles is predicated on greater safety benefits, and it makes the cautious prediction that one day, automated driving systems . . . may be able to handle the whole task of driving when we don’t want to or can’t do it ourselves. NHTSA points out that, in 2019, more than 36,000 people were killed in traffic accidents throughout the nation, but that the driver assistance technologies that we already have do help prevent injuries and save lives. While some of these driver assistance technologies are designed to warn motorists regarding impending danger, others are prepared to take action and help motorists avoid accidents in the first place. In other words, the driving philosophy behind self-driving vehicles is increased safety (in addition to the obvious motivation of increased profits).
NHTSA breaks down the evolution of self-driving vehicles into basic categories of advancement.
From 1950 to 2000
From 1950 to 2000, safety equipment such as cruise control, seat belts, airbags, and antilock brakes were created and installed in vehicles.
From 2000 to 2010
From 2000 to 2010, advanced safety features such as the following were created and installed in vehicles:
- Blind spot detection
- Electronic stability control
- Forward collision warning
- Lane departure warning
Other than electronic stability control, these all represent tasks performed by the vehicle itself that were formerly the sole job of the motorist.
From 2010 to 2016
From 2010 to 2016, advanced driver assistance features such as the following were created and found their way into our vehicles:
- Automatic emergency braking
- Lane centering assist
- Pedestrian automatic emergency braking
- Rear automatic emergency braking
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Rearview video systems
Each of these represents an automated enhancement of a primary task of driving.
From 2016 to 2025
In this grouping, NHTSA looks at the latest advancements and ahead to those advancements that are expected to drop by 2025, including:
- Lane-keeping assist
- Adaptive cruise control
- Traffic jam assist
- Partially automated safety features
It is clear that our vehicles are moving in the direction of self-automation (and NHTSA predicts that, by 2025, fully automated safety features are likely to be available in late-model vehicles).
Taking It All In
No matter how you look at it – and regardless of the predictions you find most credible – the march forward toward self-driving vehicles is not going away anytime soon. The question is very likely when not if self-driving cars will become part of our everyday lives. And some autonomous cars – and even trucks – have already taken their maiden voyages. Whether or not these vehicles will ultimately bolster safety on our roadways, however, will be revealed in the fullness of time.
Consult with an Experienced Texas Car Accident Attorney Today
The accomplished Texas car accident attorneys at The Patel Firm recognize that car accidents come in all shapes and sizes, and if you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence – or by a self-driving vehicle – we’re well prepared and well-positioned to help. Your claim and your recovery are important, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact or call us at 361-400-2036 for more information about what we can do for you today.