With artificial intelligence continuing to enter the car market place, policy makers and automakers alike need to address some of the major concerns with sharing the road. Recently, California has looked to revise the legislation regulating automakers ability to test their autonomous vehicles on the road. One major concern with autonomous vehicles is their ability to be manipulated by others on the road, potentially leading to some dangerous scenarios.

Man vs. Machine

Take the scenario of the bully pedestrian. In a dangerous confrontation, the person inside the vehicle could be trapped, as the vehicle must obey the laws of the road and society. One of the basic tenants of those laws is to prevent pedestrian accidents. The way street legal vehicles are set up now, drivers can assume control of the vehicle, but many proposed designs do not include a steering wheel for manual emergency control over the vehicle. For example, Google’s proposed self-driving vehicles do not have any equipment that relies on the occupant to use safely. While this may reduce override redundancies on the auto manufacturer’s side, leading to safer driving, does taking away all control from the diver lead to greater driver safety on the fringe scenarios? These questions and more will need to be settled before we see more robust forms of automated driving on the road and marketplace. Until then, we still need to keep both hands on the wheel and our eyes on the road.