CHICAGO, Illinois. The dialogue for fast-tracking self-driving technology has increasingly focused on the ways that the technology could prevent large truck accidents and mass transportation accidents. The vast majority of crashes occur due to human error. Self-driving technology could prevent many accidents that result from mistakes, fatigue, or distraction behind the wheel. But, is the general public ready to accept the self-driving vehicle revolution? Or, more specifically, would you let your child ride in a self-driving school bus?
While self-driving technology is still a long way from being ready for public use, according to Wired, one company is working to design the school bus of the future. The school bus not only transports children, but can even monitor their behavior while riding on the bus. For example, if children bully one another or if a fight breaks out on the bus, the bus is designed to re-route to the hospital.
School buses will probably be the last vehicles to become automated. The safety standards for buses are high, and school districts will have to consider how they will shoulder the costs. But when it comes to private transportation to school, buses and trucks will likely follow passenger vehicles when driverless vehicles become available. It truly is a matter of when, not if.
Yet, perhaps the real litmus test regarding the public’s comfort with self-driving vehicles will be when parents feel comfortable letting a self-driving bus take their children to school. According to a recent survey, only 39 percent of the public is comfortable and excited about self-driving technology. The majority, as many as 53% of people, remain uncomfortable.
Many questions about self-driving vehicles must be answered. One of the more popular ones involves questions of ethics and moral reasoning. According to Popular Science, teaching a computer how to make ethical decisions can be very difficult. What should you child’s school bus do if it has to “choose” between protecting the children within it and protecting an elderly couple crossing the street? While such a situation sounds extreme, drivers sometimes face tough decisions like this on the road when a bike rider or pedestrian suddenly jumps in the front of the car. The decisions a driver makes in such a situation can be highly personal. Researchers are studying human reactions to tough driving situations in virtual reality sessions. Scientists hope that the data will provide researchers with better tools and heuristics when programming driverless cars. For example, human drivers tend to protect dogs above other animals, but will still take actions to protect humans in the vehicle above protecting an animal running into the road.
We are likely still years away from autonomous trucks and buses. As it stands, bus and truck drivers have a responsibility to follow federal and local laws when driving. Accidents involving commercial vehicles can be devastating for victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident or bus accident, consider visiting the Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd., truck accident lawyers in Chicago, Illinois. Our firm is closely watching how autonomous technology will impact truck and bus law. At present, autonomous technology is not currently sanctioned. Visit us at www.dinizululawgroup.com to learn more.