Although California gets to be the testing ground for Google’s automated car, the technology, if successful, could soon be coming to the Dallas/Fort Worth highways. The hopes are the car’s advanced technology will make the nation’s highways safer; something Texas could use as it ranks highest in the nation for yearly traffic fatalities.
The car’s sensors, cameras and computer programs enable the vehicle to operate safely in a variety of conditions with no input from the driver. Advocates of the cars say that the cars will even allow the visually impaired to drive since the vehicles will do all the “seeing” for the driver.
Advocates also claim that the cars will reduce accidents since the sensors and programs can respond much more quickly than human drivers and are not prone to human error. Some believe the cars will eliminate distracted driving, since owners will be free to text and engage in other activities while the vehicle drives for them.
Developers state that the cars have been undergoing tests for years and the only accident in 300,000 miles was a minor rear-end crash that could be prevented in the future by installing heat-seeking technology in the trunk to detect approaching cars.
Critics remind advocates that technology is imperfect and computers and computer programs develop glitches or crash unexpectedly. Drivers in an automated car may not to watch the road and notice a problem in time to prevent an accident.
Time and further testing will tell whether these cars make the roadways safer or more hazardous.