It was reported that California, Nevada, Florida and the District of Columbia took the wheel on driverless cars. These four states have set ground rules for self-driving cars and allowed automakers to test these vehicles on roads. Indeed, self-driving cars are here and among those are: Infiniti, Mercedes- Benz, Lexus and Acura.
Self-driving car manufacturers
While we haven't seen a fully self-driving car on the roads yet, some car manufacturers are developing better safety features that are very self-driving like. Some of these safety features are self-parking, blind spot monitoring and lane drifting monitoring. Here are four companies who have some of these features:
- Infiniti - Nissan’s Infiniti luxury division just started selling the new Q50 that features an Active Lane Control. The latter handles straight roads and highway curves.
- Mercedes-Benz - Like Infiniti, the 2014 E-Class and S-Class sedans have an Active Lane Keeping Assist. If your car starts to drift, this feature will nudge the steering wheel back to the center of the lane. Moreover, you can take your hands off the wheel for around 10 seconds before a warning light changes color.
- Lexus - Lexus has this so-called “Lane Keep Assist Lane Departure Warning.” The Lane Keep Assist makes your vehicle stay in the center of the lane while the Lane Departure Warning provides an audible warning to help keep you from drifting out of your lane when cruise control is in operation. In case cruise control is not engaged, it will produce a warning sound if you drift out of your lane.
- Acura - If you are driving the RLX flagship sedan and MDX crossover and you remove your hands from the wheel for too many seconds, you will be busted by a flashing light and chime. Acura also has a lane keeping system that simply pulls the car back into the lane.
NHTSA’s take on self-driving cars
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its own set of proposed rules and regulations for autonomous vehicles. While it recommends the testing of self-driving cars, NHTSA does not recommend that states authorize the operation of such vehicles. According to NHTSA, there are still a number of technological and human performance issues that must be addressed first before self-driving vehicles can be made available to the public. The agency even defined five stages of self-driving vehicles. These are as follows:
- Level 0 or No-Automation - Driver is in complete control of the primary vehicle controls.
- Level 1 or Function-Specific Automation - Computer-operated systems of the vehicles can assist in emergency situations.
- Level 2 or Combined Function Automation - Similar to “Active Cruise Control” in which the vehicle can take over mundane and non-emergency driving tasks.
- Level 3 or Limited Self-Driving Automation - Driver is expected to be seated at the controls and to take over driving at times.
- Level 4 or Full Self-Driving Automation - Driver only has to input their desired destination and is not expected to play any active role in driving the vehicle.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I hope that this trend on self-driving cars will serve its purpose - to increase the safety of the drivers. I also hope that self-driving cars will help reduce fatalities and increase mobility for people with disabilities. As we keep ourselves updated on the results of the testing of self-driving cars and debates on driverless car bills, let’s remain focused on the road as we drive. Our eyes on the road and our hands on the wheel will help keep us from getting into an accident.