Ontario’s Liberal government is looking to make changes to its current automated vehicle pilot project to allow for driverless testing.
The pilot project was launched in 2016 and currently has seven participants including Uber and Blackberry.
At present, there must be at least one driver behind the wheel of any fully autonomous vehicle, but the government is seeking public comment to remove that requirement and have the cars be testdriven without anyone inside at all.
Other proposed changes include allowing the public to purchase, register and operate vehicles with limited self-driving capabilities, which are currently only reserved for testing purposes by approved participants.
While this may all seem scary, we must remember that humans do not have a very good track record when it comes to driving. In 2015 for Canada alone, there were 1,858 fatalities related to motor vehicle traffic collisions and another 161,902 reported injuries. The introduction of autonomous vehicles is expected to sharply decrease these numbers, although new issues will emerge as a result.
For instance, whose to blame if an autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident? How will autonomous vehicles handle bad weather conditions, especially when snow will cover the road’s paint markings and posted signs? What about detour routes or construction zones? How will insurance operate in this new landscape?
Surely these questions and many others are the reason for the pilot project.
What are your thoughts on self-driving cars? Love the way things are progressing or not? Let us know in the comments.