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Cost and benefit estimates of partially automated vehicle collision avoidance technologies

June 2016

Corey D. Harper, Chris T. Henderickson, Constantine Samaras


With the introduction of autonomous features in vehicles that can detect and prevent crashes, monitor blind spots, and detect lane drifting, some advocate that these technologies can reduce the amount of crashes that occur each year. The authors of this paper evaluate the benefits of equipping all light duty vehicles with these technologies. Using data from insurance companies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and various research articles, the authors estimate that these technologies can prevent nearly 1.3 million accidents each year and $18 billion dollars in savings. The paper suggests that advancements in these technologies can have even greater overall benefits if all vehicles are equipped with these technologies.

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Policy Implications

If these autonomous technologies begin to come standard on all vehicles governments will have to begin regulating how they should be implemented, liability for crashes, and how drivers should apply them in practice. This leads into a larger debate of fully autonomous vehicles and how they should be regulated in the market. Should the driver have to be fully attentive at the wheel? Do companies have to foot the bill for crashes their vehicles may cause? Studies on the effectiveness of these technologies will need to be carried out and tailored to each state’s environments, economies, and infrastructure.

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