Will self-driving cars ever gain our trust?


Self-driving functions already exists in cars, which most motorists are happy to embrace. However, the prospect of fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) often leads to concern over safety.

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This includes concern about collisions and the possibility of software being hacked. Statistics show that humans are not very good at preventing collisions themselves, but humans nevertheless trust themselves more than computers.

In the US, there were 34,439 fatal road collisions in 2016. Though devastating for the individuals and families concerned, we do seem to accept these numbers. However, one wonders how accepting we would be if AVs caused this many fatal collisions?

There is no doubt that AVs will one day be commonplace and that there will be products and services in place to support them, from AV finance to motor trade insurance. In the meantime, you may ask where can I find a quote for motor trade insurance that would take into account the various levels of autonomous functions as they become available?

Levels of automation

There are six levels of AVs, according to US agency the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Level zero has no automation whatsoever.
Level one cars will feature driver assistance tools.
Level two features partial automation, where functions such as steering and acceleration are assisted but the driver remains fully in control of the vehicle.
Level three automation requires a driver who can take control of the car but does not need to monitor the environment.
Level four automated cars take on all the driving functions, with the driver potentially able to take control of the car if necessary.
Level five completely eliminates the need for a human driver for all driving functions and in all conditions.

Gaining our trust

AVs rely on the quality of sensors installed in the car, along with the software and algorithms that use data from the sensors.

Some carmakers are working on features aimed at giving road users confidence in the new technology. Jaguar Land Rover is trialling the beaming of an AV’s route onto the road, while Ford has a range of light indicators.

It will be just a matter of time before fully autonomous cars are available, but it could take longer to persuade car drivers that they are an improvement on the status quo.

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