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Are autonomous cars making roads safer?

Sometimes, there is no way to avoid a car accident. However, in many cases, the driver at fault was simply driving irresponsibly or in a reckless manner. When a crash becomes fatal, the reasons for the accident can become all the more crucial; these factors can help clarify an investigation. Recent news shows a relatively new possible safety threat on the road: that of autonomous cars. Do the pros outweigh the cons? 

Although the purpose of autonomous vehicles is to make driving safer, many new technologies must go through multiple stages to reach utmost performance. Newsweek reported on one fatal crash involving a self-driving Uber car that, upon investigation, had malfunctioned while in operation. The cause? Most likely, the crash happened as a result of a software glitch that affects the car's ability to detect objects. The Uber car hit a 49-year-old woman bicycling across the street, making the first fatal pedestrian accident caused by an autonomous vehicle. At the time of the report earlier this week, Uber had not responded to the reasons for the crash. 

The initial purpose of autonomous cars, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, is to make roads safer. Automated Driving Systems are currently under review with the NHTSA, as the safety department continues by explaining how this innovative technology will one day become the new normal. Although the aforementioned accident was certainly a horrific shock amidst an otherwise progressive step forward, the NHTSA goes on to state that these systems can help drivers avoid drifting into other lanes or making unsafe lane changes, as well as warning drivers of surrounding vehicles. Some autonomous cars may still be in the developing stages, but the outlook on this technology seems positive as a whole.  



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