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How Driverless Cars Have Changed the Face of Transportation


Thirty-five years ago, the mere mention of cars being able to drive themselves was the stuff of science fiction. Fast forward to today, and not only can autonomous vehicles exist, they’re already on the roads. The only question is when more will be idling on street corners near you.

Based on the sheer volume of companies that are working on driverless cars, it may be sooner than we realize. No fewer than 25 major corporations are currently developing self-driving technology for consumer use, including Ford, BMW, Volvo, Audi, Daimler, Toyota and Volkswagen. General Motors, the U.S.’ largest automaker, aims to launch its hands-free automated super cruise system sometime this year. Even Internet search giant Google is attempting to bring autonomous motor vehicles to the masses.

Self-driving cars much safer
While it may not be known exactly when driverless cars will go mainstream, there’s no denying that they will revolutionize automotive travel as we know it. And in a good way, as several studies have indicated that self-driving vehicles are safer than the cars used today.

One of them, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that vehicles with auto brake assistance reduced rear-end crash frequency by 40%, and forward collision warning systems reduced accidents by 23%. Similar findings were discovered by researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, among them that self-driving vehicles resulted in fewer serious crashes than conventional automobiles.

The safety studies have been convincing enough that the government wants to expedite the production process. Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation announced it would commit $4 billion in investments to accelerate the development of autonomous motor vehicle operation.

“NHTSA is using all of its available tools to accelerate the deployment of technologies that can eliminate 94% of fatal crashes involving human error,” said Mark Rosekind, administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “We will work with state partners toward creating a consistent national policy on these innovations, provide options now and into the future for manufacturers seeking to deploy autonomous vehicles, and keep our safety mission paramount at every stage.”

Emergency auto braking to come standard by 2022
Meanwhile, nearly two dozen automakers have committed to making automatic emergency braking a standard component of all-new vehicles no later than 2022, NHTSA recently made known.

So until driverless technology is the norm, those of us with automobiles will still be behind the wheel. Contact us today to see what kind of deal we can get for you on your auto insurance. With over 30 insurance companies to choose from, we will “shop” your insurance for you to get you the best coverage at a reasonable price. Call us at 717-872-7756.