We’ve heard the encouraging reports from Google in recent years indicating that autonomous vehicles would revolutionize car safety, but we hardly expected anything like The Atlantic’s new report.
There were 32,719 traffic-related fatalities in 2013, which itself was a record low, but the advent of autonomous cars could blow even those numbers out of the water. Researchers have estimated that the self-driving vehicles could, within the next few decades, reduce the number of vehicular fatalities by as much as 90 percent.
If that number doesn’t sound impressive enough, think about it as 29,447 lives per year!
There are a number of difficult questions to be asked, such as what the cars’ protocol will be in situations where the car knows that it is going to crash. Who is the car responsible for protecting? Its own occupant? The lives of others in traffic? What will happen when the first fatal accident involving autonomous cars takes place?
Despite these potential hangups though, the potential of saving 1.5 million lives in half a century is hard to ignore, and we expect debate over these cars to heat up over the next few years.
For more info on autonomous vehicles, check out our report on Toyota’s new model here!