Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Driveless Cars A Reality By 2020

In the US alone there are over Six Million car accidents each year. Resulting in 32,367 fatalities in 2011. This number was the lowest in the country since 1949 when there were only 30,246 fatalities with far fewer accidents. Since 1996 We have seen an average of 4% per year decrease in fatalities in auto accidents. While the total number of accidents goes up each year.

What do these data tell us? For one we are manufacturing and driving safer cars. This has been at the front of consumer and manufacturer minds since 1980. This was the first real shift towards safety. and 1979 had more fatalities than all but 1 preceding year.

What then is the cause of all of these +6M auto accidents? Around 97% of these accidents are caused by human error. Another alarming statistic is that the number one killer of teenagers is car accidents. Even more alarming is that in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day teens are twice as likely to die in a car accident than at any other point in the year.

Now I'm a parent and I have concerns about my 5 year old and 3 year old driving. But the good news is for me by the time my Daughter hits 16 years old it will be 2024. These vehicles will have been out for 4 years. Johnny be sure my little babies will be behind the wheel of a  Driver-less car. Now whether or not they deliver on all the hype the vehicles will need some input from the driver. So they can not be totally driver-less.

But I do like Nissan's goal. Creating a vehicle with zero emissions and creating a vehicle with zero fatalities. Watching the arc of fatalities going from 0 in 1898 then ever increasing to it's highest point in 1972 at 54,589, then despite the exponential population growth seeing these numbers fall to an all time low per capita of 32,367, is impressive.

Im excited to see these numbers plummet even further as we reduce the number of humans driving, which account for 97% of these accidents.

So what can you do if you are putting your teens in cars now? These stats may be helpful.

Teens that have their own car and can drive at any time without permission are twice as likely to die in an automobile accident as those that have to ask to borrow their parents car every time they drive.

Start teaching your children good habits as toddlers. That's when they learn how to drive anyway. point out that a vehicle may be in your lane or swerving and they are probably on their phone. Teach good habits early.

We may not be able to stop texting and driving, in fact the epidemic will claim more lives before the problem goes away. So let's look at the problem from an algebraic standpoint. If we can't solve for the texting part of the equation, then lets solve for the driving part of the equation.

Saving over 30,000 lives a year, that's amazing. Not to mention when you don't have to drive it is much more comfortable to drive.

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