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View Poll Results: Do you think that autonomous cars can really help get down the rate of road accidents?
Yes. Autonomous cars can indeed bring down the rate of accidents (Please explain Why) . 108 66.67%
No. Autonomous cars cannot help bring down the rate of road-accidents (Please Explain Why). 35 21.60%
Can't say (Please explain why). 19 11.73%
Voters: 162. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 21st November 2017, 20:50   #1
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Default Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I was reading a newspaper article a week ago which caught my attention. The article was about the road accidents. As per this article, human error has got to play a major role in the road accidents and Human error also accounts for 90% of the road accidents.

The article also says that autonomous cars can help decrease the rate of road accidents world-wide by a huge margin. Now my question to the fellow BHPians is that do you think that autonomous cars can really help decrease the rate of accidents world-wide? Asking this because we've heard quite some accidents which have been caused because of autonomous cars (a couple of links attached for reference below) and that kind of accidents could've been avoided with human intervention.

Also given that autonomous cars aren't coming to India, what's the other way around to decrease the road accidents in India (if you think that autonomous cars can really decrease the rate of road-accidents) since India also accounts for a fair share of road accidents world-wide.

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Would like to see what fellow BHPians have got to talk about this.

Last edited by Varun_HexaGuy : 21st November 2017 at 21:00. Reason: Adding poll :)
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Old 21st November 2017, 21:26   #2
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted 'Yes'.

Over time (maybe 5 to 7 years) the software intelligence built into an autonomous car could reach a critical point where the car can navigate its way even through the chaos of Indian traffic. Prototypes being tested in live conditions and crashing are no indicator to where and how far the IQ of the software can go - every crash brings an opportunity to improve. The world of drones is around the corner. An autonomous car is nothing but a drone flying in a substantially more crowded space.

What about a cruise missile - it flies at 250 metres/ second at altitudes varying continuously between 100' to 500' on a nape of the earth mode tracking and constantly avoiding buildings, hills, pylons, bridges etc - it self navigates to a pre-determined target. Now how does that compare with a car that moves at 10 to 15 metres per second (for the most part) avoiding other vehicles, rickshaws and people and needs to get from point A to B. The infrastructure to support autonomous cars' ability to sense the environment will need to be built and it will get done in 30 years. 30 years is not a long time for a fundamental transformation. I believe person driven cars will be an enthusiasts sport just like horse racing is today - unpopular comment to make on T-BHP but it seems the way things could be in 2050.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 21st November 2017 at 21:30.
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Old 21st November 2017, 21:37   #3
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Yes, as long as all autonomous cars have the latest version of QuickHeal car anti-hijacking software and Malwarebytes (for cars) installed.

Driverless cars ‘could be hacked to cause pile-ups’
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/d...-ups-7wwzf5zkc

Quote:
Hackers who remotely access the controls of driverless cars would have the ability to cause pile-ups on motorways, Matthew Channon, an expert in motor insurance at Exeter University, said. He added that because driverless cars were wirelessly connected to each other criminals who hacked the systems of one car could potentially gain access to the controls of others.
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Old 21st November 2017, 22:59   #4
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted yes. I believe the technology as it is right now is not ready to hit the streets but over the next few years (3-4) it will get better. Now if you have an AI powered car interacting with other AI powered cars and all of them running on AI powered road infra then you're eliminating a lot of stupid mistakes(human). That should cut down the rate of accidents (at least the big fatal ones). For eg. you could easily forget about the head on collisions when trying to overtake on one lane (each side) highways. You could also eliminate mistakes like running a red light and hitting oncoming traffic. I could go on and on but you get the point...
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Old 21st November 2017, 23:40   #5
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted can't say. We are still far away from the autonomous cars. In our country with the number of two wheeler population, pedestrians and the quality of the cars built, We can safely assume that Autonomous cars are not our cup of tea. I trust my driving skills more than a machine.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 08:36   #6
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted for 'yes'. Autonomous cars won't speed up when they see a signal turning from green to orange on the way to red. Autonomous cars won't have road rage. Autonomous cars won't get drowsy. You get the drift . In general, the anxiety levels on the road would reduce.

Having said that I am still sceptical, how a mix-n-match of autonomous cars and Indian-style manually driven cars would fare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hema4saran View Post
I trust my driving skills more than a machine.
So do I. But every now and then, I find drivers who I wouldn't trust a cycle with. They would be better off in an autonomous car.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 08:41   #7
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted yes. There will be improvement in abiding of traffic rules by autonomous cars which will help in safety for all. Plus scope for driving error reduces in autonomous cars. You can see lot of drivers on the road who does not know even about basic driving etiquettes.It will be difficult to implement it in India due to chaos on our roads but it will surely come as capability of software keeps on increasing. Government needs to come up with separate laws for autonomous cars.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 08:46   #8
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted cant say and the reason being that autonomous cars too have met with accidents, the Tesla one being one of the most known one. This accident we speak of in a country where the traffic is way more disciplined than our country and if an autonomous car would meet with an accident there, India would be having many accidents each day.

In India, traffic discipline is sub 0 on a scale from 1-10 with people, cattle and 2 wheelers using the road as they please. In this case, I believe only a human has the ability to react within a split second as no matter what, there is some lag in electronic systems in most cases (my OEM reverse parking sensor makes me say this). If, however, the electronics have no lag or a lag lesser than a human then I probably might change my stand but as on today given where the technology is, I think it is still a long way before we can have accident free roads because of autonomous cars.

Apart from cars being autonomous, pedestrians and 2 wheeler riders also need to be disciplined way better than what they are today. Remember, there are no autonomous 2 wheelers yet, if I am not mistaken, and that makes the chances of reducing an accident because of an autonomous car lesser than 50% IMHO. It surely "may be" possible but not at present is what I feel and so the vote goes to cant say

Last edited by centaur : 22nd November 2017 at 08:49.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 08:49   #9
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Road accidents – I do think that it will really come down once the technology matures.
It could bring down road blocks and congestions as well; a programmed car won’t try and sneak into an available inch of space at a traffic signal.

On the flip side, some of the bugs or problems (existing in the system or inflicted by miscreants) can be mass impacting rather than one-off. For example, a fault in the signal detector can have a huge impact on all cars running on that technology. That’s why I feel autonomous cars with human override will be a better option.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 08:59   #10
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I dont think we have autonomous cars now so when I say "Yes", I am thinking atleast 5 years down the line. That said, software and machines are good at doing repetitive tasks much better than humans and they are also very good at following instructions. Autonomous cars will definitely decrease the number of accidents. Infact a few insurance companies also reduce youe premium if the car has some drive assist features.

Last edited by extreme_torque : 22nd November 2017 at 09:24.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 09:19   #11
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Road accidents – I do think that it will really come down once the technology matures.
It could bring down roadblocks and congestions as well; a programmed car won’t try and sneak into an available inch of space at a traffic signal.
That’s why I feel autonomous cars with human override will be a better option.
I voted "No" because automation will be programmed by humans. My reasons may look funny,
  • There may be different options for OS like Windows, Linux, Android.
  • An aftermarket technology with pirated versions for conversion, this will become a new business opportunity.
  • Cars stopping with blue screens or driving in "Safe Mode" at will due to sensor malfunctions.
  • Softwares may be more expensive than the cars.
  • The Lxi, Vxi and Zxi variants will be similar to Student, Professional and Enterprise editions.
A human override option similar to IT administrators should not be ignored. But it will create a lot of job opportunities in China and India.

Last edited by deehunk : 22nd November 2017 at 09:29.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 09:25   #12
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Yes, simply for one reason. The autonomous car will care less if you have an important meeting to attend, or you are late, etc. and always drive respecting the rules, while keeping the occupants as well as other road users out of harm's way.

Plus I will trust my car to drive itself rather than a driver who will treat it like a race car. I now a days walk out of a hotel if they force me for valet parking or ask me to leave the keys with them.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 09:37   #13
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

No for me, considering the deteriorating conditions of the traffic.
Self driving car technology that we are talking about would work in ideal conditions where traffic is well managed and people obey traffic rules.(not only while driving but for pedestrians as well).
These days, the way people cross a road is so scary and it all comes down to your reflex action to press the brakes and stop the car in order to save the person.

I am not sure how self driving cars will take care of such situations.(Nobody catches the person who came in-front of your car suddenly, because it's always the person who is driving.)
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Old 22nd November 2017, 10:17   #14
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted No.

Working in IT sector, I know that a software can't be flawless and there's always going to be a bug or downtime. I am not about hacking or virus attacks yet. Call me paranoid or a fool, I will trust my own driving skills and those of a sleep deprived/drunken truck driver where I can react to ANY possible situation in the BEST possible way. I still don't believe that all these permutation combinations of situations and their possible reactions can be coded into a car's chip.

Another point to note. We are moving towards BS VI and yet vehicles from pre-BS era continue to ply on road. This is simply because not everyone can afford to upgrade to a new vehicle which meets new norms. They will try to drag their old vehicles for another decade or more.

So our roads will have computer controlled pre-programmed cars, old school man-controlled cars (helmed by sleep-deprived/drunken drivers), some stray cattle, bikers and a few random people crossing the roads. Maybe that's why companies are not launching their autonomous cars even though they have been testing it for a few years now. We and our roads are not ready for them.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 10:38   #15
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Default re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I think that rate of accidents will see a marked decrease when a significant number of autonomous cars are on the roads. However, the number of human-driven cars will outnumber autonomous cars for many years to come (decades?). So, the benefits are a long way off.

I
Quote:
Originally Posted by centaur View Post
If, however, the electronics have no lag or a lag lesser than a human then I probably might change my stand but as on today given where the technology is, I think it is still a long way before we can have accident free roads because of autonomous cars.
In my experience from my car, the electronics are faster already. I have relied on adaptive cruise control a lot (probably for 85-90% of the 30k I have done with the car so far), and it has not landed me in soup at any time. The system is sensitive to even momentary, minor changes to the speed of the car ahead, which as a human I may not even notice.

However, so it can't notice/predict cars coming into my lane and can only react once a car is in the radar range. So, I can react to lane changes by other cars faster than the system in my car. But then, mine is not an autonomous car. An autonomous car should already be able to detect such events with its sophisticated radar/camera system.
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