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Self-driving fatality bound to happen

Self-driving cars have the potential to increase traffic efficiency and road safety. However, automakers still have a long way to go in the development of self-driving technology. A jaywalker was killed on March 18 by a self-driving Uber car in Tempe, Arizona, marking the first self-driving vehicle fatality ever recorded. In response, many car manufacturing companies, including Toyota, have removed their self-driving cars from public streets for the time being.

Tempe police have determined that even a human driver would have struggled to avoid the pedestrian. The woman was hit as she was walking her bike across an unlit road at night while wearing black clothing. Despite the circumstances of the accident, Uber still faced heavy criticism for the fatality. In the days following, the company announced it would halt the development of its self-driving technology.

Though it is unfortunate, accidents are a necessary component of innovation. Some things are simply unavoidable. The first motor vehicle fatality is said to have happened on the streets of London in 1896 when only a handful of petrol cars existed. If people chose to abandon the development of cars then and there, we might still be traveling in horse-drawn carriages. The development of petrol engines led to general advances in other travel technology like airplanes. If automakers stop the development of self-driving cars, it might result a loss of unrealized potential in both automotive and technological fields.

March 26, 2018

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