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The development and mass production of self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles, has the potential to revolutionize transportation mobility and safety. Currently, motor vehicle operating laws, impaired driving laws, insurance laws and most other laws addressing the operation of vehicles in every state are premised on a significant assumption - that a human is behind the wheel, operating the vehicle. State lawmakers around the country are considering the ramifications of driverless cards, including how existing laws and systems may need to be modified in order to facilitate the implementation of this technology.
Advanced Drive Assistance Systems
Advanced driver assistance systems are an assortment of technologies that assist the driver with driving the vehicle. Automakers will often market these systems under different branded names; however, they function the same. Advanced driver assistance systems include, but are not limited to the following:
According to the USDOT website: "With 94 percent of fatal vehicle crashes attributable to human error, the potential fo autonomous vehicle technologies to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads urges us to action".Self driving cars have the potential in the future to reduce deaths and injuries from car crashes, particularly those that result from driver distraction.
Reduced Traffic Congestion
Americans currently spend more than 6.9 billion hours a year sitting in traffic, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Under normal circumstances, human drivers naturally create stop-and-go traffic, even in the absence of bottlenecks, lane changes, merges or other disruptions.
Reduced Co2 Emissions
The reduction in congestion will most likely result in a reduction of Co2 emissions as well.
Since software will drive the car, the modern vehicle can now be programmed to reduce emissions to the maximum extent possible. The transition to the new-age cars is expected to contribute to a 60% fall in emissions.
Increased Lane Capacity
Research from the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) shows potential for autonomous vehicles could increase highway capacity by 100 percent and increase expressway travel speeds by more than 20 percent.
While AVs might lead to a increase in overall vehicle travel, they could also support higher vehicle throughput rates on existing roads.
Lower Fuel Consumption
AV technology can improve fuel economy, improving it by 4-10 percent by accelerating and decelerating more smoothy than a human driver. Further improvements could be had from reducing distance between vehicles and increasing roadway capacity. A platoon of closely spaced AVs that stops or slows down less often resembles a train, enabling lower peak speeds (improving fuel economy) but higher effective speeds (improving travel time).
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