Traffic Safety Initiatives: Highly Automated and Connected Vehicles

Technology advancements are transforming society on a daily basis, and this reality is especially true of automotive transportation. The modern motor vehicle is a computer-controlled machine that is becoming increasingly automated. Fully self-driving vehicles, once a thing of science fiction, are now considered inevitable. While this transformation can be unnerving to some, it holds tremendous potential to reduce motor vehicle crashes and their resultant injuries and fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that human error is a factor in more than 90 percent of traffic crashes. Therefore, if human operation is removed from the driving task, tremendous public safety benefits should be attainable. In addition, the integration of technologies that allow modern motor vehicles to continually communicate both with each other and with the roadway infrastructure promises to improve safety and efficiency and thereby improve public health. Finally, driverless cars promise increased mobility and independence for large segments of society, including persons who are elderly, who are blind, or who have physical or mental disabilities.