The Risks of Relying on Automated Safety Technology
Today’s automobiles are becoming more automatic than ever before. Following the lead of Tesla Motors, nearly all major car manufacturers feature some sort of automatic driving capability or automated safety features.
Many leaders in the automobile industry and engineering field are virtually certain that self-driving cars with advanced artificial intelligence systems are the next stage in the evolution of the automobile. Even the U.S. Department of Transportation is touting the safety benefits that automation provides drivers.
However, some people are skeptical about the advanced capabilities automated technology and artificial intelligence can provide. Furthermore, recent studies conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) strongly suggest that such technology is still a long way from surpassing and supplanting human intuition.
The Limits of Current Automated Safety Technology
The current prospects for artificial intelligence systems are miles from rivaling human intuition. At a fundamental level, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have the same physical limitations of any biological creature.
For one, ADAS systems are sensor-based. This means that ADAS systems utilize physical cameras to detect objects. Currently, camera technology has the ability to capture images with the sharpness and clarity of the human eye.
But like the human eye, cameras can become obstructed. Snow, mud, ice, and other objects can block the cameras of an ADAS system. According to the AAA study, several car owners didn’t realize that safety technology could be rendered effectively inoperative with a simple drop of mud.
Replacing Good Habits
The AAA study on ADAS systems and its impact on driver safety concluded that a substantial percent of car owners overestimate the safety capabilities of ADAS technology. Many car owners admitted to not checking their blind spots while merging, trusting in the efficacy of automated warning systems. Some drivers confessed to being comfortable enough to engage in other activities while their autopilot feature was activated.
It’s conceivable that marketing for these technologies may have contributed a false sense of security for some drives. Despite the fact that many car manufacturers have included warnings about the risks associated with the overreliance of ADAS technologies, such warnings aren’t as loud as the messages about safety and convenience that underscore marketing campaigns for ADAS features.
However, like most cases in life, car manufacturers aren’t 100% to blame. The people have spoken, and car makers are listening. So as long as we – the collective consumer public – are willing to make ADAS technology more lucrative than safe, the automobile industry won’t be motivated to take the extra step.
The biggest asset humans have over purely logical computers is our survival instincts. Our primal drive to avoid death is a skill that we’ve crafted over thousands of years. Let’s not make it easy for artificial intelligence to replace human intelligence by conceding our responsibility to keep ourselves safe.
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