There are a number of car manufacturers claiming they are not so far as to allow vehicles to function completely independently in traffic. In test environments, their cars may drive themselves. But autonomous driving is best for small country roads, in highway construction sites or in controlled lanes, but the technology giants that are working on these self-driving cars are spending billions in research and development and they will not allow any self-driving car accident or mishap put a dent or speed bump in their roll out plans as the deaths are simply collateral damage in big American business.
Last year, the investigations on the autonomous car from Uber which killed a cyclist in Arizona, confirmed that it was not the computer driven car that was to blame for the accident, but the woman driver. Investigators say that a video shows how she steps out of the shadows directly in front of the car which is too short for a full braking. Let us just say that if the person killed was a loved one of the investigators, we are sure their tune will change to blame the technology.
It would seem that Uber and the rest have financial muscle to make sure they are not to blame and it is the blame of the victim.
Tech giants, Google and Apple have been working to override the car industry with their proposed autonomous vehicles. Not much has happened so far. The efforts to build their own self drive cars have slowly been forgotten and somewhat written off. Instead, they should keep focusing on what they do best. Collect data, sort and use it to derive algorithms, deliver software and keep making millions for the investors and partners.
Meanwhile ride hailing companies, Uber, Waymo, Lyft and we are sure very soon to join the foray, Grab wants to revolutionize passenger transportation by making it cheaper. They one way is to go autonomous. This is because the driver always represents the most expensive factor in the ride-hailing/taxi business.
The current technology of using radar sensors, scanners, cameras and simple lasers on self driving cars is inadequate. The mapping system system of the streets also need to be pin point accurate and any changes need to be updated instantly.
So, technology is the first big issue, the next is the street data and finally you have the surrounding movements from smaller vehicles/cyclists/pedestrians/animals. Full autonomy needs more time and tests and manufacturers should instead spend their research and development one recycle materials, engines, batteries, etc to keep reduce our junkyards and waste.