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The safety of the self-driving car has been severely questioned after the latest deadly Uber and Tesla accidents in the United States. However, far from paralyzing research projects, China has allocated miles and miles of streets in districts of Shanghai and Beijing to autonomous vehicles and granted the first licenses to local car manufacturers.
This ambitious plan aims to become the leading country in the implementation of the technology of the future. “The development of intelligent and connected vehicles can improve transport efficiency and safety, while meeting energy-saving and emission-reduction targets. China has the foundation and advantages to succeed in this sector,” said Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology at the World Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem Conference held on November 6 in Shanghai.
At the moment, these tests are carried out under the umbrella of the laws in force because, although the autonomous vehicle is driven without hands, it makes the driver responsible for any accident. But in the future, there will be a legislation that will not blame the driver because the car is not really controlled by a human.
Experts from the sector assure that zero accident rate is difficult to obtain but it will be reduced considerably. In fact, the four causes that produce more than eighty percent of road accidents are human failures that machines can avoid: distractions, alcohol and drug ingestion, fatigue and speeding.
We are witnessing the birth of a new transport era because the autonomous vehicle has no time to brake.