Fewer accidents with autonomously driving cars

German citizens hope for more safety and environmental protection through autonomously driving cars. But the reality is still looking different.

It seems difficult to convey that driver assistance systems can really save lives. Otherwise, it would be difficult to understand why, for example, truck drivers switch off the emergency brake assistant. Because since 2015, this will be installed in all new heavy trucks. And yet accidents happen again and again because the assistance system has been switched off by the driver.

No absolute trust in autonomous cars

The annoying, acoustic signal of the distance warden seems to be a weighty reason for this. But a closer look at a recent study by the TÜV Association and the industry association Bitkom, it is striking that many Germans simply do not completely trust the systems. Only 28 percent want autonomous functions on the highways, on rural roads there are just 18 percent who want to be there with the self-driving vehicles. Only 17 percent of those surveyed want the systems in critical traffic situations and only eight percent would trust them during the entire journey. Bitkom Chief Executive Dr. Bernhard Rohleder speaks in a press release of a lack of imagination: “While parking aids, lane departure warning systems and automatic emergency braking systems already exist and people can imagine such support, they are apparently still lacking the imagination of the car basically driving alone. The computer at the wheel, however, does not tire and can not be distracted – much speaks for the autonomous driving.”

More safety by autonomously driving cars

Many of the study participants are convinced of the advantages. After all, 60 percent of Germans say that self-driving cars would bring more safety for passengers or other road users, 29 percent expect fewer accidents. At the same time, 43 percent expect lower consumption and 27 percent lower environmental impact. Even more time for the driver and more driving comfort each one in four (26 percent) people counts as a plus. With all the evaluations, it then comes as a surprise again why only a few respondents would opt for an autonomously driving vehicle. Maybe the reason is just lack of concrete communication and implementation. At the same time, there are still many dangers that, according to respondents, include technical problems (68 percent) and hacker attacks (63 percent). 52 percent also fear unauthorized use of their data by third parties.

Safe systems required

In order to convince the Germans of the advantages of an autonomous vehicle, legislators, the automotive and IT industries still have a lot of work to do. For 91 percent of the interviewees, an uninterrupted data exchange is required, 87 percent want a technically mature and 82 percent a cutting-edge technology. These must then be secured against attacks from outside. Only when these doubts are cleared out, autonomous cars will probably be accepted.

More about this topic in our blog:

Liability issues with autonomously driving cars not sufficiently clarified

The beautiful new world: artificial intelligence in traffic

Automated driving: Convincing work must be done

Ralf Johanning

Ralf Johanning studied political science and works as a freelance journalist. For over ten years now he reports on the transportation and logistics industry. The priorities include topics such as telematics, software, and ICT. In 2006 the trained editor, Head, and Press Officer founded the editorial office Alte Schule with his partner Ann-Christin Wimber.

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