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How Safe are Self-Driving Cars?

Operating a motor vehicle is a dangerous endeavor. Because of high speeds, inclement weather conditions and human error, climbing into the driver's seat should not be an act that is taken lightly. But what about driverless cars? Thanks to the folks at Google, the futuristic concept has become a reality of the present, especially in Austin.   If you're in the area and happen to see a member of Google's testing fleet (modified Lexus SUVs and models made by Google), you may wonder how safe a car sans driver truly is. While the vehicles may boast numerous benefits, such as alleviating heavy traffic, helping the environment and decreasing the amount of human-caused traffic accidents, there are definite downsides and risks.  

  1. What about wayward pedestrians?

A driverless car may be super advanced but it can't anticipate the recklessness of humans. For example, what if a pedestrian decided to jay walk before looking both ways. If a Google car were to be coming down the road towards said jaywalking pedestrian, would it stop? Without traffic signals or crosswalk directions, the Google car may not be able to anticipate said scenario and injuries may be incurred.  

  1. Can self-driving software be hijacked?

We live in a world in which terrorism is unfortunately pretty commonplace. So who is to say these atrocious acts could not be extended to the realm of driverless vehicles? If the cars operate by GPS and other advanced software, how easy would it be for an outside party to infiltrate the system and take over control? Moreover, the potential injuries associated with this safety concern are large and apparent.  

  1. Will carsickness be taken to a new level?

Riding with a driver prone to quickly braking and jerky maneuvering is stomach-turning enough, but without a physical driver at all would the aforementioned aspects be amplified? Motion sickness is a major issue for many people and it is not clear how smooth the rides courtesy of driverless cars are just yet.  

  1. Can self-driving cars be used as a weapon?

Perhaps the scariest possibility yet, the thought of someone using this technology to hurt others is a real issue that must be addressed. Criminals may utilize the passenger position for evil with the intention to wreak injury and havoc, while taking advantage of the passenger position to increase the scope of their damage.   No matter how cool or revolutionary driverless cars may be, there are undeniable dangers and downsides associated. So what do you think? Are you excited for the cars to be on the streets in the community or do the dangers shadow the excitement away?   While self-driving cars are new to Austin, car accidents are not. If you have been in an accident causing injury contact the Rhett Hoestenbach team today!

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