Are self-driving cars the newest risk to pedestrians?

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable on roadways in North Carolina. They have no protection against a vehicle that may hit them. They will always lose in an accident. This is why there are so many safety devices and procedures in place to protect them. If you walk around the city, you will notice marked crosswalks, pedestrian signals and even warning signs telling drivers to watch out for people on the roadway. These things help to avoid accidents, but it is up to drivers and pedestrians to watch out and be alert to stop something bad from happening. This makes the latest news about self-driving vehicles and pedestrians especially worrisome.

According to Wired, Uber’s self-driving car did not have programming knowledge of certain pedestrian activities and therefore was not aware to watch out for pedestrians in the roadway. The vehicle was set up to only detect a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. This led to a fatal accident where it hit a person who was walking outside a crosswalk.

This issue likely stems from Uber’s concern over false triggers, meaning things other than pedestrians could cause the vehicle to stop when there was no need to do so. They also built in a delay between the detection of something in the car’s path and the reaction of the car. This, too, is due to concerns about false triggers.

This tragedy occurred because the vehicle could not identify a person on the road outside a crosswalk and because the detection system could not identify the person, it was unable to decide what to do. This shows that you should never trust any vehicle on the road when you are crossing. Always make sure the roadway is clear. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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