According to early reports, we have another smart car accident. A self-driving Uber car struck a woman crossing a street late Sunday evening near Tempe, Arizona. It is believed that the vehicle was in autonomous, self-driving mode when it struck the pedestrian.
While we certainly hope this is either the first, and last, injury or death resulting from self-driving cars, we realistically understand that is nothing more than wishful thinking. As companies race to own the robot car market, the safety of everyday people, like the woman killed Sunday evening, will inevitably be overlooked, perhaps even disregarded. Take for example, comments recently exposed from Uber developer, Anthony Levandowski: “this as a race and we need to win, second place is the first loser” suggesting they “need to think through the strategy to take all the shortcuts we can.”
As self-driving cars push towards incorporation into everyday life, the potential for danger becomes real. The safety of other drivers and pedestrians must be first. Companies, who fail to make safety their main priority, and rather push for profits over people, must be held accountable.