Autonomous motor vehicles (AMVs) with full self-driving capabilities have now become a near term reality. With AMVs arrived the big hype that AMVs will save millions of lives and make roads safer. Can AMVs on their own do that?
On February 14th, 2016 Google reported its AMV trials had its first accident. An analysis of statistics from Google revealed that an AMV was 5 times more likely to be in an accident compared to the regular vehicles. But the most striking finding was in all those accidents the fault was not of the AMV but the other vehicles.
Will merely putting AMVs on the road be enough for preventing accidents and saving lives? Even if 100% of the vehicles on the roads are autonomous, it does not automatically make the traffic autonomous and seamless to become accident free. A recent Wall Street Journal review explains why our current infrastructure isn’t ready for driverless vehicles.
The presumption that availability of AMVs will automatically result in saving lives is flawed. accidents cannot be averted unless 100% vehicles on the road are connected & communicating with everything that makes up the ecosystem. Although worldwide R&D on autonomous mobility is at all time high, but it was all AMV-focussed. There's a vacuum in research to make those AMVs traffic worthy.