You read that right. The folks at Mercedes aim to reduce the number of vehicular mishaps to zero. It requires a lot of external parties and reliance on autonomous driving. The Germans have a little less than two decades to do so, and it’s practically an impossible challenge.
Dubbed the “Vision Zero”, they’ve added a secondary mission to the other, that being a halving of 2020’s total accident numbers in half by 2030. What’s the plan? To quote the head of Mercedes’ vehicle safety division, Paul Dick, “highly automated and autonomous driving will be a decisive contributor.” Oh, the involvement of other related organizations, governments, urban planners and others who work in fields related to automotive and traffic safety is also required. The first A-class’ near-roll in the moose test contributed to Merc’s venture in ensuring safety in models representing the three-pointed star.
Let’s do a reality check, shall we? Assuming the best scenario, where everyone and everything is transported in vehicles made by Mercedes. Roads have been implemented with technology that updates in real time and has near-instantaneous feedback on what’s happening on the road. Then yes, consider the goal achieved. Take one part of the visions off, and it all falls apart. Technology is still developing, but there will be a threshold where it’s simply impossible to improve. There is no telling where this limit will be, but it almost seems that we’re close to reaching the peak.
Tesla Model 3 crash test photograph sourced from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS for short)
What about autonomous driving? Everyone in a Tesla or any other car equipped with it is proof that it’s a thing. But everyone ignores the part where manufacturers warn owners and motorists not to fully trust their cars with the commute. It’s nowhere near perfect. We’d say Tesla is a leader in this branch, yet, many posts online still show that it’s not capable of identifying all the things it sees correctly. Nothing will replace human judgment, not until machines can think and perceive things the way an average human would. It’s too reliant on one feature, and unless everyone drives the same car, expect a chance to get rammed by a drunk driver or another driver with malfunctioning brakes. Or perhaps, in a twist of irony, another autonomous vehicle.
Junkyard photograph by Tom Fisk, submitted in Pexels
Governments all around the world have made attempts on getting people to scrap their old cars to trade in for new ones. Yet some folks still happily drive around in their old clunkers. Unless mandated, and everything is free, everyone would simply stick to what they have. Only a handful of people are capable and willing to purchase something new. With stuff such as automated driving, it’ll jack up the price a lot more. Total replacements will also present another problem: surely there’ll be enough land to store more than a billion junked cars. Recycling them is a possibility, and surely, we’ll forget the pollution that it could inflict in the process.
Trains are bound to the rails since their invention, and to this day, though minimal, there are chances of derailing, or other unfortunate mishaps. When a vehicle that travels on a set path has a chance of accidents, imagine a whole traffic of cars, controlled by different individuals of varying driving masteries, and a ton of other factors. Governments have their own budget set as well, and developing advanced architectures for safer roads is probably on the bottom of the list. Overambitious? Perhaps. But no one knows what the future holds for us. Statements are prone to age, just at independent rates.
p dir=”ltr”>(Other images sourced from Mercedes-Benz)