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Driverless car technology and consumer trust

Most people in New Mexico have no doubt heard reports about autonomous vehicles being tested and some even being involved in accidents, including a fatal accident that left a pedestrian in neighboring Arizona dead earlier this year. With so much media attention focused on this technology, it is important for consumers to better understand it so that they can make informed decisions about their views on the matter.

Bloomberg explains that self-driving cars rely on multiple technologies to capture data as a vehicle drives. Cameras, laser-based sensor systems, radar and more all collect information that is then processed by a computer to inform the vehicle what to do when. This is akin to the human brain receiving information from a driver's eyes and ears and then making choices based on that data.

While this sounds like it should be a good foundation for safe driving, one of the problems inherent in it is that the computer operating a driverless car is created to follow all rules explicitly and to assume that all other vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians to do the same. Certainly not all other drivers or people on bikes or foot do this at all times. This disconnect may open up opportunities for accidents.

According to Car and Driver magazine, getting the average person willing to hand over control of the steering wheel to a computer may be harder than developing the techology in a self-driving car. Humans seem to innately equate control with safety thereby increasing a person's sense of risk when moving from a driver's seat to a passenger's seat.



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