Proponents of autonomous vehicle technology claim that self-driving cars could virtually eliminate human error on the roads, but questions about the reliability of these systems have been raised in Connecticut and around the country after a self-driving vehicle was involved in an accident that claimed the life of a pedestrian. An SUV that was being used by the ride-hailing company Uber to test autonomous systems struck and killed a woman as she stepped into the road, and video footage taken from inside the SUV suggests that the person behind the wheel may have been distracted at the time.
Police have found evidence of driver complacency when investigating other accidents involving vehicles with autonomous systems. The Boston-based technology startup Affectiva develops software and artificial intelligence algorithms that monitor and interpret facial gestures and eye movements, and the company is working with major auto manufacturers like Daimler AG and BMW to adopt this technology for use in vehicles. A representative of Affectiva says additional hardware will not be required as the software being developed could be installed in the cameras used by self-driving cars.