PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

The fundamental flaw in self-driving vehicles

Car manufacturers are creating technology that allows vehicles to drive without human engagement. While the thought of this is futuristic and somewhat appealing to many, to others, it is a recipe for disaster.

In the years since self-driving cars debuted, automated driving presents a plethora of challenges for other vehicles out on the road. Discover why this newest driving advance may need to take a backseat for a few years.

Making split-second decisions

Cars with automatic braking have become a popular option. A car that stops itself faster when an unexpected barrier presents itself is appealing. This is not self-driving, but defensive maneuvering that only engages should front cameras and sensors flag an object too close for the current speed. While this same technology is in self-driving vehicles, it is there for a very different purpose: The driver is not actively driving, and therefore, will not brake. In this scenario, it becomes less about getting a split-second head start and more about necessity in stopping a serious crash.

Computers cannot beat the human brain

The brain is the fastest and most efficient computer on the planet. It takes in data at a high rate of speed, analyzes it and directs the body to respond properly. It is the ultimate multitasker in the process. As such, a human is better able to process information presented around him or her while driving. Risk factors of cars, pedestrians, environmental factors and roadway conditions are all constantly flowing in and responses are appropriately applied.

The computer onboard even the most sophisticated self-driving vehicle is not able to replace the way a human brain works. It cannot account for every scenario that may occur with a dog on the side of the road or a semi-truck teetering close to the center line. Therefore, it may not react appropriately to stop or avoid a crash. In fact, some of these vehicles stop in the middle of a busy highway because the computer made the wrong decision, causing a different crash as a result.

Drivers must continue to watch out for the usual dangers while traversing the roads in and around Winchester, adding self-driving vehicles to the watch list.