September 12, 2017
Are we overestimating the capabilities of today’s autonomous vehicles and does that create a false sense of security?
That’s the primary question explored by our CTO Andrew Silver in a guest column published this week by American Trucker, a leading publication serving the trucking industry.
“Has the hype around ‘self-driving’ vehicles created a false sense of security among drivers that can lead to very risky driving behaviors?” Andrew wrote in the article, the first of a series of pieces on related topics. “If it has, which safety enhancing technologies can we implement to reduce the potential for these behaviors to have deadly results?”
Government vehicle safety statistics show that motor vehicle deaths in the US are escalating. Highway safety experts cite distracted driving – drivers trying to talk on the phone or send texts while driving – as a chief cause of the increase.
“Publicity around automated driving has hailed it as the ‘holy-grail’ for solving the distracted driving issue,” Andrew wrote in the article. “Yet this automated driving trend could potentially worsen this problem in the near term, according to a report in MIT Technology Review, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Why? Because today’s semi-autonomous cars are a long way from ‘automated driving’ or ‘driverless vehicles,’ despite how they may be regarded in the popular imagination.”
A high-profile example touching on these issues is a 2016 crash that killed the driver of a Tesla who was using the Tesla Autopilot feature. This week the US National Transportation Safety Board is slated to hold a meeting to determine the probable cause of that crash.
Andrew’s article goes on to explain the international standard for vehicle autonomy and provide details on the associated safety considerations when considering distracted driving. Even the most sophisticated of today’s production autonomous vehicles are not truly self-driving because they require at least some driver attention or control, his article says.
Until autonomous vehicle technology becomes advanced enough, distracted driving risk can be addressed with other technologies. One such approach is to incorporate a mobile device policy engine into the communications network, which enables a company to enforce safe mobile phone policies with its drivers of fleet or cargo vehicles.
Mobile-X from Tango Networks is a key enabling service for modern business communications, including Mobile Unified Communications, mobile workforce communications, and programs for remote working, work from home, telecommuting and business continuity. The service brings next-generation fixed mobile convergence technologies to communications for the distributed workforce.