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Driverless technology – safety or suicide?

The reality of self-driving cars is not as far away as you might think. We already have cars with cruise control, emergency braking and self-parking technology.

Adding the next layers of technology to create driver-less cars is already being tried and tested by Google, Volvo, BMW/Baidu and others.

With new technology, there is also new concerns of how it is used – or abused – highlighted by The Conversation website with their article:

Data mining the new black box of self-driving cars

The jury seems to be out on whether self-driving cars will create safer roads or could be responsible for causing a major disaster.

Our critical analysis of this exciting period in the automotive industry is that the most increased risks are not so much in the final product of automated technology, but in the transition from manual processes to automated systems.

To paint a simple picture, a manual job demands effort and concentration, whereas a semi-automated job requires less of both. So the semi-automated job can be more dangerous as there is less mental stimulation, lower engagement, and in simple terms it can create a greater likelihood of micro-sleeps. This is the dangerous transition period, as when the job becomes fully automated, there is no human involved who might suffer from fatigue.

It’s this transition period through to full automation for specific roles where Integrated Safety Support can help to implement fatigue prevention strategies at their source, and manage the increased risk exposures in proactive and appropriately reactive ways. The solutions look different on a control panel compared with a commercial vehicle, and different again in an aircraft cockpit to an air traffic operation.

The solution is nearly here and very few companies are looking at the hump in the road before the promised benefits of automation actually arrive. Please share your thoughts below or with me directly via adam@integratedsafety.com.au.

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