Everyone has read about the move Google and many other companies are making towards self-driving cars. We’ve seen the news reports showing their prototypes, and we’ve heard a lot about the testing phase. However, autonomous self-driving cars are still not available on the open market, and this article will take a look at some of the reasons for that. While there are many stumbling blocks to overcome, it’s pretty likely that innovators will solve these problems at some point. Still, many experts now claim the public release date for self-driving vehicles is much further away than the car manufacturers would have you believe.
Self-driving cars might have to play God
The first problem that car manufacturers struggle to overcome relates to developing software that will essentially play God on the roads. Let’s run through a situation, and then discuss some of the issues it presents. Presume the self-driving car has two options. It could continue on the same course and crash into an oncoming vehicle, or it could swerve and hit a pedestrian causing less damage. Is it morally right to let a computer system decide who ends up in the hospital that day? Welcome to one of the most significant challenges self-driving car designers are working through at the moment.
Self-driving cars present many insurance issues
It’s still unclear how self-driving cars will affect insurance policies when accidents occur. For instance, if you had a smash in the new Subaru Forester or a similar model, it’s easy to determine and allocate blame. However, if the same thing happened when you are sat in a self-driving car, are you responsible? Most people would argue not, but therein lies the problem. If insurance companies can’t allocate blame, they will have to take the vehicle’s software programmers to court. That opens up a new can of worms that could prove exceptionally costly.
Self-driving cars pose security risks
We live in the digital age, and Google’s self-driving car concepts would not exist were it not for computers. However, there are thousands of cybercriminals out there who can hack into almost anything. It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to work out how much trouble those hackers could cause on the highway if they gained control over most of the cars. Making a self-driving car unhackable seems the only solution, but that’s almost impossible, and so the manufacturers are currently spending millions of dollars attempting to develop a resolution to that threat.
Now you know about some of the leading problems and risks associated with the current self-driving car prototypes; you should have a better understanding of why you’re not travelling to work while eating breakfast and drinking coffee at the same time yet. Still, as with anything in the technology world, the situation will improve, and innovators will reach suitable comprises at some point in the future. Just don’t expect to purchase your self-driving car in the next few months as that isn’t going to happen. It’s going to take a few years to iron out all the kinks.