Many people in Arizona and across the United States are excited about advances in autonomous vehicle technology, hoping that self-driving cars can help to reduce the number of car accidents and injuries suffered on the roadways every year. However, there have also been a number of high-profile crashes involving self-driving cars under development. Some experts say that one reason for these crashes could be the role of human influence, particularly that autonomous vehicles are being programmed to copy or mimic human driving behavior.
The first pedestrian fatality in a car accident with a self-driving vehicle took place in Arizona, where Uber is testing driverless cars. An engineering professor said that companies like Uber and Google are programming cars to drive themselves using human knowledge and understanding of driving, which is fallible and prone to unsafe driving and motor vehicle accidents.
He noted that the development of autonomous cars is balancing safety with a driving experience that mirrors that of a human driver. While driving like a human can be more comfortable and familiar, it can also be less safe than a potentially fully automized experienced, the professor added. Uber's tests of self-driving cars in Arizona was suspended in March 2018 following the fatality. The professor argued that a truly autonomous vehicle would always presume the existence of obstacles unless it verifies that there are none; he contrasted this with the human belief that would assume the road ahead is clear unless an obstacle is directly perceived.
He noted that expectations for human and autonomous driving are different, and that self-driving cars are held to a higher standard. However, the vast majority of accidents on the road continue to be caused by human negligence. People injured in motor vehicle accidents due to another's dangerous behavior might benefit from working with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for the damages suffered as a result.