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Human error lives on in self-driving cars

One of the most intriguing aspects of autonomous vehicle technology is the potential for fewer car accidents. Motor vehicle crashes pose a serious danger on New Jersey's roadways, taking lives and causing serious, catastrophic injuries. Far too many severe accidents occur due to human errors, distractions and mistakes. By removing the human element from driving, some believe it could be possible to envision a future with no traffic accidents.

However, one engineering professor involved in the development of autonomous technology points out that the human factor remains a major influence on self-driving vehicles and one of the greatest obstacles to developing radically improved safety. Car accidents involving autonomous vehicles have been widely publicized, including a March 2018 crash in Arizona that involved the death of a pedestrian. This was the first fatal collision involving a self-driving car.

The professor notes, however, that some of the dangerous issues with self-driving cars do not involve technology failures but a well-intentioned attempt to replicate the human experience of driving. Human driving relies on making certain assumptions; for example, drivers may assume that if they do not see an obstacle, the road ahead is clear. The computing technology behind autonomous vehicles could enable completely different calculations based on constant measurement of the road ahead. However, this could require breaking free of a human model of the best methods of driving.

Of course, most of the motor vehicle accidents that continue to take lives and cause severe injuries are caused by traditional human drivers. Those accidents can have long-term, devastating effects on their victims. An individual who has been injured in a car crash due to another's negligent or dangerous driving can work with a personal injury attorney to pursue compensation for the damages incurred.

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