The following post was provided by Attorney Bormaster. Bormaster & Associates specializes in trucking accidents, automobile accidents, criminal defense, DWI, and more.
We stand on the cusp of a hyperconnected future. A world where everything is connected to the Internet. A world where the way we live and work is about to fundamentally change. Nowhere is this more evident than with the connected car - an innovation that will, in the near future, give way to fully autonomous driving.
Every day, our world looks more like something straight out of the realm of science fiction. Digital, voice-activated assistants that can plan out our entire day. Smart homes that can be controlled entirely from a mobile device. Appliances that do everything from clean our floors to keep us topped up on groceries.
In this new era of connectivity, one of the most frightening - and exciting - areas of development is that of the connected car. It all started rather modestly, with tools like Onstar, which could be used to give a driver a direct line to roadside assistance. The technology has come a long way since then.
Assisted driving systems that mitigate and reduce the risk of accidents. Sensor networks that regulate a car’s internal systems and detect signs of trouble before they put the driver at risk. Entertainment systems that integrate readily with smartphones and other connected technology.
Yet though they are fascinating, these innovations are merely the beginning. Today, we stand at the cusp of fully autonomous vehicles. In a few areas of the world, self-driving trucks have already hit the road, as have autonomous transport services.
It won’t be long now before such technology enters the consumer space. Companies like Google and Uber are each testing their own brand of driverless car. Granted, there are a few kinks that still need to be ironed out - autonomous vehicle AI still has a bit of trouble dealing with human unpredictability, and the technology itself is still far from perfect in many ways.
Yet self-driving cars are no longer a question of if, but one of when. They will fundamentally change the way we drive. The hyperconnectivity that serves as their foundation is already doing so.
As for where we’ll see the biggest change? Car accidents. Very few accidents are completely unavoidable - in the majority of cases, they are the result of simple human error.
Remove the human from the equation - that margin of error - and the road becomes much, much safer. It’s predicted that autonomous vehicles could potentially save millions of lives worldwide. By eliminating the accidents that are due to human error, they could reduce traffic fatalities by 95%.
Even in the short-term, connected vehicle technology has the potential to not only reduce the frequency of accidents through assisted driving systems but also to make post-accident analysis easier than ever. Rather than simply examining the scene of an accident, investigators can also view sensor data from the vehicles involved - this allows them to paint a far more complete picture of the events leading to a crash, and takes out much of the guesswork involved in such an analysis.
Connected cars are good for more than entertainment. Even as it is now, the technology has the potential to save lives. And as we move inexorably towards a fully-autonomous future, we’ll find ourselves in a world where the roads have never been safer.