Driverless cars are often seen as the future vision of motoring, with many car manufacturers having designed such vehicles with considerable sums having been invested.
Sadly a pedestrian was recently fatally injured in a collision with a driverless vehicle being tested by ride-sharing company Uber, which collided with the pedestrian as she was walking her bike across the road in Tempe, Arizona. Since the tragic incident, Uber have ceased the testing of driverless vehicles in the US, and Toyota have taken the decision to suspend testing of such vehicles on public roads. Toyota’s driverless vehicles presently in testing have what is known as level 2 or 3 autonomy which means that a driver can take control of the vehicle when they wish to do so, however testing continues at enclosed test sites, however the vehicle involved in the recent accident was a fully autonomous model (but for the purpose of testing the vehicle did have a vehicle operator at the wheel whilst the vehicle was self-driving). It has not yet been determined who was at fault for the accident, with investigations ongoing.
UK self driving car trials are continuing by some manufacturers despite the tragic accident in the US.
Given that vehicle manufacturers are spending significant sums of money developing, manufacturing and testing driverless vehicles of different levels of autonomy, it appears that the vehicle manufacturing industry sees self-drive cars as a large part of its future given they feel the vehicles offer greater safety as the vehicle software can react to surroundings faster than a human could. However, given the recent tragic events, vehicle manufacturers should ensure that such vehicles have all of the safety measures fully operational and tested to a very high level before they are made available for the public to purchase.