Cars Drive Themselves Better Than You Do

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Monash University researchers say accidents on our roads could be "significantly reduced" if we embrace automation - and it doesn't even have to be "all the way".

Even at it's bare minimum, with the technology we have now, cars drive themselves better than we do.

In the Safety Benefits of Cooperative ITS and Automated Driving report, researchers looked at the benefits of a range of automated driving technologies. We're talking features like forward collision warning, curve speed warning, intersection movement assist, right turn assist, lane keeping assist and auto emergency braking.

"Australia's road transport agencies see connected and automated driving as a key component of achieving road safety trauma reductions," said Austroads Chief Executive, Nick Koukoulas of the report - which was funded by his organisation.

But these benefits are reliant on these kinds of automated safety features becoming standard in all light passenger vehicles.

MUARC Senior Research Fellow Dr David Logan, a lead member of the study, says full adoption of "key automated driving and connected vehicle safety applications" could prevent anywhere from 4,100 to 6,500 fatal and serious injury crashes in Australia, and 310 to 485 fatal and serious injury crashes in New Zealand every year.

If Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems - which use wireless communications to alert drivers, intervene in dangerous situations, reduce traffic congestion and increase system efficiency - were adopted in every car on our roads, there would be 35 to 50 percent less side-on crashes at intersections, according to the report.

Head-on crashes could be reduced by 40 per cent.

Automated driving apps - where as aspect of driving (like parking assist) is "taken over" were shown to reduce accidents by up to 50 per cent.

But it looks like we'll be waiting quite some time before this becomes a reality - the researchers say it'll be at least 25 years before automated driving and C-ITS applications are a part of every car on the road.

You can read the full report here.



    I gamified my driving, I aim to keep the L/100Km as low as possible. I could consistently keep things at about 12.5...then I played with the cruise control. The car is consistently between 9 to 11.

    By not riding the accelerator my foot rests over the brake, meaning I react faster. By not having to monitor the speedo, I'm paying more attention to what is going on around me. Bring automation on.

    Well of course they're safer.

    They're not inebriated, tired, yelling at kids, talking on phones, eating breakfast, drinking, thinking about the cute person they saw on Friday, clipping their toenails... or otherwise distracted.

    The big problem I have with automation is what happens when it goes wrong.

    We can't consistently get technology to work over a long period of time. Phones crash, computers slow with age, the decay rate of technology is far greater than the rate our ability to drive decays at.

    My first car was mechanically sound but most of the electronics was temperamental / broken. It's fine when the issue is you can't have the stereo and wipers on at the same time but when the automatic braking kicks in for no reason at 110kmph it's a different story

      That is why your brakes are still mechanical.

        Some cars apply the brakes for you when their electronic sensors tell them to. Self driving cars will be the same.

          They may apply some braking for ypu via actuation of the brakes, but the brakes themselves from your pedal to the pad is a mechanical system. If the auto brake or other electronic function fails the mechanical system still functions. Like abs it assists your braking but if it fails you don't loose braking just that function.

          Self driving cars can't be the same, because there is no input that is mechanical.

    Looking "auto brake fail" on you tube is still good for a giggle.

    And yes things do fail but a lot of the videos are from production vehicles not test cars or concepts.

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