“Working with our public and private partners, we can make our roads safer, save lives, attract investment, and create new high-tech jobs throughout the state.” – Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner

The world has moved through the First, Second, and Third Industrial Revolutions into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Klaus Schwab, the founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, states in his seminal book on The Fourth Industrial Revolution, that humankind stands on the brink of a “technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.”

This digital revolution includes advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3-D printing, robotics, quantum computing, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and autonomous vehicles.

And, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0, or 4IR) is “characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

What is an Autonomous vehicle? 

Before we consider ways an autonomous vehicle can reduce the number of road accidents, let’s look at a succinct definition of a self-driving car:

According to TWI-Global, an autonomous vehicle is a “driverless vehicle… that is able to operate itself and perform necessary functions without any human intervention, through ability to sense its surroundings.”

A self-driving or driverless vehicle utilizes Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and geofencing to drive on the roads without human intervention. And, it uses a technology known as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) couple with sensors on the outside of the vehicle to maintain a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front of it. 

Finally, the most highly automated vehicles have the built-in functionality that allows them to respond to signals from traffic lights as well as other road signs such as stop signs, traffic circles, and hazardous road conditions. 

Ways self-driving vehicles can reduce the number of road accidents 

This quotation mentioned above by Bruce Rauner highlights the importance of utilizing the latest technologies to make the public roads safer for everyone who uses the road, including motor vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. 

These sentiments are echoed by a Buffalo personal injury attorney who has first-hand knowledge of the lasting physical, mental, and emotional trauma caused to road accident victims. 

Thus, here are a few ways automated vehicles can reduce the number of road accidents:

Automated machines do not get tired 

Driver fatigue often has similar outcomes as drunk driving. Research shows that driving after not sleeping for twenty hours is akin to driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%. This figure is the US legal alcohol limit. And, circa 328 000 road accidents per year are as a result of fatigued drivers. 

Automated vehicles, on the other hand, do not get tired. They can keep going forever if necessary.

Reduce DUI and DWI statistics 

A self-driving car is incapable of driving under the Influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Thus, the more self-driving vehicles there are on the roads, taking over from drunk or intoxicated drivers, the road accident death and injury statistics will drop drastically. Researchers estimate that road accident fatalities could be reduced by as much as 94%.