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Perception of Self-Driving Car Changes Following the Death in Arizona

Radler: Driverless Car Script

By Josh Radler SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — On Sunday, a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian walking across the street in Tempe, Arizona. It is the first time that a driverless car has ever killed someone. This technology has been years in the making but now is in the hot seat after showing clear technical flaws.

Syracuse University Information Technology professor Marcene Sonneborn is an expert on technological innovation. Sonneborn has worked with dozens of start-up technology companies to help get them grants for their research. Having seen so many technological advancements, Sonneborn isn’t surprised that the self-driving Uber is faulty. “She walked across the street because she trusted that the human driving the car would stop,” Sonneborn said. “There wasn’t a human driving and the car couldn’t react.”

Following the accident, drivers have lost some faith in the technology behind driverless cars. One driver, Jack Price, feels that while the idea behind the technology is great, he has very little trust in it at this time. “Too many crazy things happen while you are driving,” he said. “Artificial intelligence can’t possibly react like a person would to it. A computer is smart with scenarios. The road isn’t like that. Driving is unpredictable.”

Professor Sonneborn had a similar reasoning for why the technology struggled. However, she was certain that over the next 100 years, self-driving cars would be a normality on the streets. “Anytime you use artificial intelligence to predict the actions of a person, especially in a setting like driving, perfecting the artificial intelligence is tricky,” Sonneborn said.