Transportation Accidents

October 30, 2013 by  

Transportation Accidents, Research by independent US thinktank the Eno Center for Transportation claims that even with adoption rates of just 10 percent, autonomous vehicles could help save $25 billion annually, while 50 percent of crashes and related injuries could be avoided.

In the US alone, over 30,000 people die in road traffic accidents every year and in 90 percent of cases, driver error is a factor. The result — 2.2 million injury or death-inducing car crashes annually at an economic cost of $300 billion.

As the report stresses: “Over 40% of these fatal crashes involve alcohol, distraction, drug involvement and/or fatigue. Self-driven vehicles would not fall prey to human failings, suggesting the potential for at least a 40% fatal crash-rate reduction, assuming automated malfunctions are minimal and everything else remains constant.”

According to its figures, even if only 10 percent of cars on the road were autonomous vehicles, it could lead to 211,000 fewer serious crashes and 1,100 fewer deaths per year but that to eradicate all accidents in which human error is proven to be a factor, a full 90 percent of vehicles would need to be autonomous.

And while the logic of the thinktank’s central statistics and central arguments are very simplistic — “AVs can be programmed to not break traffic laws. They do not drink and drive. Their reaction times are quicker and they can be optimized to smooth traffic flows, improve fuel economy, and reduce emissions” — that doesn’t mean that they aren’t accurate.

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