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Driverless cars could be more dangerous than you think

Driverless cars could be more dangerous than you think
photo courtesy of shutterstock

Autonomous cars have made serious headway the past few years toward becoming a reality. Google, notably, has logged more than 1.5 million miles with self-driving cars. In fact, they are out on the streets right now in select cities in Arizona, California, Texas and Washington.

This self-driving technology does raise some moral questions when it comes to the rules of the road. You might be surprised to find out how one autonomous car manufacturer is answering those questions.

Mercedes-Benz says it will prioritize the safety of its passengers over the safety of pedestrians. That's what Mercedes' Manager of Driver Assistance Systems and Active Safety Christoph von Hugo told "Car and Driver" magazine.

Hugo said, "If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car. If all you know for sure is that one death can be prevented, then that's your first priority." He went on to say that 99 percent of Mercedes' engineering work is to prevent these situations from happening at all.

So basically, if someone runs out in front of the self-driving car, it will only reduce speed to lessen the impact. The car won't swerve to avoid hitting the person in front of it. Mercedes-Benz autonomous cars will be programmed to slow down, tighten seatbelts and prime the brakes if impact is inevitable.

Self-driving car safety has been in the news lately. We recently told you about the death of a man in Florida while his car was on autopilot.

Some would argue that autonomous cars will be safer than vehicles driven by humans. The U.S. Department of Transportation says 94 percent of car crashes in the U.S. are caused by human error. I guess we'll have to wait and see the numbers when more self-driving cars are on the road.

Does the thought of streets full of autonomous cars frighten you? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

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