Experts say self-driving cars will save lives: Would you ride in one?


Imagine being able to reduce the number of Ohioans who died in roadway crashes to 103 instead of the 1,033 who were killed in crashes last year.

Experts say autonomous vehicle technology could lead to dramatic reductions in car and truck crashes, injuries and deaths in coming decades as self-driving cars take to the road and old “legacy” vehicles are gradually replaced by cars that can see better than humans and react more quickly.

RELATED: ‘Smart car’ technology may make roads safer, but some fear data hacks 

With autonomous vehicles in place accident frequency could decline 90 percent by 2050, according to a June report by KPMG, a professional service company analyzing the impact autonomous vehicles will have on the insurance industry nationwide.

The company projects the total losses from auto accidents could fall by $122 billion, or 63 percent by 2050, assuming autonomous vehicles lead to both fewer and less severe accidents.

RELATED: Distracted driving: Texting, app use increases deaths on Ohio highways

Smart car technology is already in cars coming off assembly lines, although much of it is on higher priced vehicles. Things like automatic emergency braking, backup cameras, lane departure warning and forward collision warning are expected to be on an increasing number of vehicles in coming years.

RELATED: Ohio to fund smart highways and autonomous car research

“Right now is one of the most disruptive times that has ever faced the automotive and mobility industry,” said Joanna Pinkerton, chief operating officer of the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, which is working with the state of Ohio and Ohio State University on smart car research.

“Our highways and our cars have been roughly the same for about 100 years and all of a sudden we see opportunity to ….reduce fatalities and to reduce congestion and to reduce pollution through new technologies.”

RELATED: 5 things experts say about self-driving cars



Crash avoidance features are already making vehicles safer and crash injuries less severe, according to a 2016 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study of vehicles with front crash prevention technology.

The study used U.S. police reported crash data and found that automatic braking reduced rear-end crashes by 40 percent on average. Rear-end crashes were reduced by 23 percent when vehicles that had forward collision warning systems, the IIHS study found.

RELATED: What makes a smart car so smart?

“As this technology becomes more widespread we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end collisions,” David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, said in a safety report.

This week this newspaper takes a close look at the drive to replace today’s conventional cars with autonomous vehicles. 

RELATED: Ohio Patrol cracking down on distracted driving; state considering higher fines


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Car crashes into the side of Sunlight Village counseling center in Dayton
Car crashes into the side of Sunlight Village counseling center in Dayton

Dayton police confirmed the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the side of a youth counseling center in the 3300 block of W. Third St. Saturday morning did not sustain any serious injuries. The driver was traveling westbound when he lost control and jumped the curb, causing the vehicle to crash into Sunlight Village, a counseling and therapy center...
Power restored along U.S. 35 in western Montgomery Co.
Power restored along U.S. 35 in western Montgomery Co.

Power has been fully restored to customers in New Lebanon, along U.S. 35, according to a DP&L worker who was on scene working on the outage.  The outage lasted for about 2 and a half hours and affected over 4,000 customers.  It’s not known what caused the outage. According to the DP&L outage map, the number of affected customers has...
Types of pain for which opioids may be prescribed
Types of pain for which opioids may be prescribed

Opioid medications, commonly called narcotics, are derived from the poppy plant. Some opioids are available as prescription medications. They are regulated as controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration. A health care provider must have a special license to prescribe these opioids. Other opioids, such as heroin, are illegal under all...
Fertility doctor is pushing the boundaries of human reproduction
Fertility doctor is pushing the boundaries of human reproduction

This is John Zhang, the Chinese-born, British-educated founder and medical director of a Manhattan fertility center that is blowing up the way humans reproduce. In 2009, Zhang helped a 49-year-old patient become the world’s oldest known woman to carry her own child. In the not-too-distant future, he says, 60-year-old women will be able to do...
Why kids and teens may face far more anxiety these days
Why kids and teens may face far more anxiety these days

When it comes to treating anxiety in children and teens, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are the bane of therapists’ work. “With (social media), it’s all about the self-image - who’s ‘liking’ them, who’s watching them, who clicked on their picture,” said Marco Grados, associate professor of psychiatry...
More Stories