Does Uber’s Recent Accident Mean Driverless Vehicles are Unsafe?

Should we be worried about the Uber accident?One of Uber’s driverless vehicles was recently involved in a car accident in Tempe, Arizona. The accident happened after a driver took a left turn in front of the vehicle. Uber responded to the crash by temporarily taking its driverless cars off the road. While this accident was most likely caused by a human driver, it is one of several events that have caused people to question the safety of Uber’s driverless vehicles. There were also reports of the cars running through red lights and bicycle lanes in San Francisco.

Are All Driverless Vehicles the Same?

It is unfair to judge all self-driving vehicles as the same. More than a dozen companies are currently testing this exciting new technology. A recent study by Navigant Consulting compiled a list of 18 companies developing hardware and software for driverless cars. The businesses were ranked on the technology used in their vehicles, business strategies and vision. Uber came in 16th place.

Another statistical analysis claimed Uber came in last place at testing its self-driving vehicles. According to a study by Edison Investment research, Uber’s vehicles experienced a disengagement for every mile driven. A disengagement occurs when a human driver is forced to take over for the vehicle. Waymo’s vehicles had one disengagement for every 5,128 miles driven.

Many Americans are afraid of riding in self-driving cars. In fact, polling data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety claims 78 percent of Americans are afraid of using the technology. Accidents like Uber’s certainly do not help bring these numbers down.

Self-driving vehicles will continue undergoing testing, and it is possible we will see improvements to safety features.

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