Autonomous vehicles have been growing in popularity in the last several years and are looking to be the future of fleets and maybe our roads in general. This may sound like a scary concept to some, but autonomous vehicles have been proven far safer than human-operated vehicles in numerous different ways. You may be surprised at the advantages autonomous vehicles can bring to your fleet, particularly how they make it safer. By making your fleet safer, autonomous vehicles may reduce your insurance premiums in the future. In this article, we will go over how autonomous vehicles prevent accidents and, in doing so, how they reduce the cost of your fleet’s insurance.
What are Autonomous Vehicles?
Before jumping into this discussion, we should define how autonomous vehicles work. Autonomous vehicles operate themselves, as opposed to being operated by drivers. They utilize sensors to create maps of their surroundings by visualizing obstructions in the road, nearby vehicles, lane markings, pedestrians, and traffic lights. The software can compile this information to create a path for the car by sending instructions to the actuators that control the car’s movement. These actuators control the vehicle’s acceleration, braking, and steering. The software has algorithms that help the vehicle avoid obstacles, obey traffic laws, and drive safely.
Levels of Automation
There are five levels of automation in autonomous vehicles.
Level 0: The human driver has complete control. This is not an autonomous vehicle.
Level 1: There is some level of driver assistance, such as adaptive cruise control or lane centering. This is not an autonomous vehicle.
Level 2: This level is called partial automation. The driver must keep their hands on the wheel, but the car includes both adaptive cruise control and lane centering. This is not an autonomous vehicle.
Level 3: The driver can take their hands off the wheel and perform other actions, but the vehicle can instruct the driver to intervene. This is an autonomous vehicle.
Level 4: The driver does not need to intervene if the car is in a specific area. This is an autonomous vehicle.
Level 5: The driver does not ever need to intervene. This is an autonomous vehicle.
Why are Autonomous Vehicles Safer?
Decreased Risk of Impaired Driving
When alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers get behind the wheel of a vehicle, it often has catastrophic results. The CDC found that 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States are caused by alcohol-related crashes. This is a staggering amount. If impaired drivers get behind the wheel of an autonomous vehicle, they are not in control, making it far less likely that they will cause an accident. Fortunately, this can reduce accidents significantly and save many lives. Insurers are aware of this and will very likely offer decreased insurance premiums due to this fact.
Obey All the Rules of the Road
Of course, there are so many rules of the road to follow. There are the basics, but there are street signs and special cases to consider as well, and any person may get confused or forget on a bad day or if they’re distracted. Autonomous cars do not fall prone to these errors. They can sense all street signs and are programmed to know all of the rules of the road, so they don’t ever run the risk of breaking them. Obeying traffic laws doesn’t only prevent you from getting pulled over, but it can keep you safe as well.
Autonomous vehicles are very likely to outperform human drivers in terms of safety. This is because they are not prone to human error. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 94% of accidents in the United States are caused by human error. This means that taking human error out of the equation could eliminate a massive number of accidents that occur on our roads every day.
Stay Up to Date on the Future of Fleets
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