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Self-Driving or Self-Sabotage?

Posted June 21, 2022

Ray Blanco

By Ray Blanco

Self-Driving or Self-Sabotage?

When we first heard about the concept of truly self-driving cars, a lot of us thought the same thing: how well will self-driving cars be able to avoid crashes? 

And little by little, automakers have begun to test self-driving capabilities in their vehicles. The only issue is that crashes are still a pretty big problem. 

Perhaps the most well-known electric-vehicle maker, Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), recently reported the most vehicle crashes where its driver-assistance tech is suspected as the culprit. This comes from the U.S. government’s first-ever survey of these types of accidents. 

This past Wednesday, the auto industry’s top safety regulator announced that nearly 400 recent crashes had been reported, in which, self-driving features were engaged during or directly before the crash. 

According to the report, of those crashes, over two-thirds happened in a Tesla vehicle.

Tesla was also one of the first automakers to roll out its self-driving tech to consumers. The technology came as a software update to vehicles going as far back as 2014. 

However, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned against using the crash data to speculate about the safety of any automaker’s self-driving tech. 

This is due to several limitations surrounding the data. First of which is that the data is company-reported, it also doesn’t take into account the number of vehicles equipped with self-driving tech that any manufacturer has sold, or the mileage that those cars have driven before the crash.

So reports like these are still in the preliminary stages of truly determining how safe self-driving systems are. Just like any other new technology, years and years of data must be collected before accurate estimates can be made. 

One thing is certain though, the collection of this data will be very important to automakers as they continue to develop these systems. 

The auto-safety agency even took this a step further last summer by ordering companies to report any serious crashes involving advanced self-driving tech. 

The criteria for “advanced self-driving tech” is any system that assumes some control over steering, braking, and acceleration. 

The idea of self-driving technology is extremely exciting, imagine being able to fully trust a self-driving system so that you could leave for a vacation and sleep in the car while its technology handled the drive for you. Pretty cool stuff… 

However, I’m sure no one wants to have to worry about their vehicle crashing into an otherwise preventable situation. So this data collection and reporting will be very important in getting us to that point. 

To a bright future,

Ray Blanco

Ray Blanco
Chief Technology Expert, Technology Profits Daily
AskRay@StPaulResearch.com

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