Why Move Toward Autonomous Vehicles?

AuthorNathan Baker
chapter 6
Initially, automated vehicles will suf‌fer from growing pains as vehicles are
programmed and we learn how to use them. As well, they will suf‌fer from
an unexpected predicament. These vehicles follow the rules of the road—
strictly. As a result of not bending or breaking the law, they react in ways
that human drivers do not always expect.1 For example, a person may try
to merge illegally. A human driver may let the illegal merger occur and
utter a curse under their breath. The automated vehicle may not expect
or understand the merger and may maintain its lane. The fault lies with
the illegally merging driver but nonetheless ends in a crash. For now, the
inability of automation to appreciate the inventive stupidity of human
decision making is a limiting factor.
Driver error is responsible for the vast majority of vehicle crashes. Some
studies suggest that up to 94 percent of crashes are as a result of driver, and
1 See Brandon Schoettle & Michael Sivak, “A Preliminary Analysis of Real-World
Crashes Involving Self-Driving Vehicles,” UMTRI-2015-34 (October 2015), online (pd):
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute www.umich.edu/~umtriswt/

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