How safe are autonomous cars if the driver falls asleep

As self-driving cars become more common today, technology is drawing more concentrated efforts in making them safer, with better regulations, in order to protect the drivers.

The latest study focuses on the possibility; what if the driver falls asleep at the wheel of an autonomous car? Thatcham, the research body of the motor industry has programmed the car to stop in such instances, even if the car is in the fast lane.

Reports believe, autonomous cars will be on the UK roads by 2021. Insurers have however shown concerns over the safety of self-driving cars.

Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent, believes in order to make such advanced technology cars to be running on the UK roads, it needs ground rules. In order to create this, the cars were been tested on a test track.

Furthermore, Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research sourcesman carried out the test on a car, in addition to showing the various ways in which the car can be made safe for people to drive it.

At first, a video explains the functioning of an autonomous car. Experts believe such cars need and have a driver monitoring system, which watches what the driver is up to.

“The car’s got to be able to monitor whether you’re paying attention and if you are not paying attention, the system must automatically try and wake you up,” says Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent.

Self-driving cars allow the drivers to also read notes while driving, however the car notifies to take over in complicated situations, such as roadworks, for instance. In such a situation if the driver does not obey the machine, the car automatically comes to a halt and parks in a lay-by. However, Rory Cellan-Jones of motor industry’s insurance and research body, believes this feature needs to be mandated in the new autonomous systems.

On the other hand, Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research suggested that although vehicle manufactures are advocating for the vehicle to stop in a lane, he does not believe it to be a safe option, to leave a vehicle in the middle of a lane. “If a driver doesn’t respond, pull the vehicle out of the running traffic.”

Experts believe, unless autonomous cars have systems to make them pull over, it can cause more accidents in the future.