Intro: Self-driving Cars and Designs

1) What are the main causes of self-driving car accidents?
2) How can design help drive safe self-driving cars?

Re-analyze Wikipedia autonomous vehicle mortality chart with causes

1) Automotive vision sensor failure

The second case among the five cases in the above table is a relatively well-known accident. It caused by the failure of vision sensors to distinguish the white side of a trailer from the bright sky behind the car. Other accidents have also been caused by the vision sensors’ failure to achieve the recognition of accurate objects with a sense of distance/depth. The car combines three to four different vision sensors to obtain a similar level of visual information that the human eye gets. (The next post will cover this topic in more detail.)

2) Driver’s carelessness while driving

As above, the level of automation of self-driving cars is at the level of driving assistance systems, but the level of automation we expect from the word “semi-autonomous driving” is more than that. That cognitive difference causes the driver to lose engagement in driving and leads to a very ridiculous accident. Contrary to our expectations, AV experts expected to take at least 25 years to complete self-driving.

Image source:

The goal of my design thesis is to find a design solution that will bridge the gap between humans and self-driving cars.



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Solji Lee

Solji Lee

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a second-year design grad at University of Washington / UX designer based in Seattle