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Self-driving cars: future of the Road Accident Fund

I don’t think many people in SA appreciate truly how advanced the development of automated cars are at the moment.  Forget about the isolated incident you hear of a self-driving car accident all the time, almost every Tesla has an upgraded feature to it that allows the car to be self-driving.  You engage the self-driving feature and the car drives you home.  It is probably better if you negotiate up the driveway yourself and into your garage or out of the parking lot at the beginning of the journey, but the car does everything perfectly for you.  It follows all the rules, it drives within the lanes and quite frankly, apart from everything else, would be of great assistance to somebody who is driving home after one too many drinks.  For now, you have to keep your hand on the steering wheel, but make no mistake the car is driving itself – not you.

For anybody who has not picked up the pattern of the last 20 or 30 years, this one is not hard to pick up – computers do things better than us.  There will, undoubtedly, be fewer accidents when more vehicles on the road are computer-driven.  Right now, you have more than 285 000 Tesla’s alone driving like that in the US, but it will not take long before every manufacturer has more successful software or licence it, as they have the charging stations, from Tesla.  Tesla got a lot of money for opening its super-charging stations to its rivals and no doubt many of them may want a licensing deal on the automated software next if they are too far behind the curve.

South Africa does not adopt things as quickly, but when things really get going we always get stuck in – just like we did with mobile phones.  I am not saying that that automated cars will be the rule in SA in 10 years, but I don’t think it is an outrageous bet to suggest that the accident rate in SA in 20 years’ time will be substantially lower than it is now largely, if for no other reason at all, due to an increased number of cars of self-driving cars, taxis and the like on our roads.  We are the most advanced country on the African continent, and I have no doubt that although moving to electric and self-driving cars at the moment is essentially non-existent, the move will explode in the years ahead around the world – and in South Africa too.  No doubt personal injury attorneys will start to feel the reduction in injured victims faster in the USA and its safe to assume that the more advanced the country is, the faster their accident rates will fall in the years ahead.

This won’t impact the Road Accident Fund at all now, but it will certainly lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of injured persons it has to pay out in 20 years’ time compared to now.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 Share on Facebook   Tweet It

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Sinead  said:
on Thursday 07-Sep-23 04:55 PM
The future is definitely looking bright.
I wonder if these vehicles will succeed in South Africa though... Although technology is advancing, will these vehicles be able to detect pot holes? What about all the beggars at every intersection? When the traffic lights go off due to loadshedding what happens?
I would love to test drive a Tesla! Just to experience the "self-driving" mode. Emphasis on the word experience. I don't think I would use it often if I own this kind of vehicle, until I get used to it I guess.

Ashleigh  said:
on Friday 01-Sep-23 07:59 AM
It would be good to have a breather from driving but what happens in cases where people would prefer to drive themselves and like lunatics? Will the self driving cars determine the dangers of these cars just pulling into your lane, driving to close, high speeds and other factors like potholes, smash and grabs etc... In South Africa there is a lot of dangerous factors to consider unfortunately.

Brumilde Cronje  said:
on Thursday 31-Aug-23 06:57 AM
Its truly amazing. one can remember the old movie with the flying cars, I feel in a couple of decades we will things advance in such a way, those futuristic movies will seem like normal. Wonder if it will be like the cyberpunk area or like the jetsons.

Sune  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 04:21 PM
I think self-driving cars are definitely the future, however I do not think that it will be so popular or in demand in South Africa. Unfortunately, with all the adversities we have it will not be as successful as in other first world countries.

Brenda Strydom  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 04:15 PM
I would love a self-driving car, but the problem is it's not going to work in South Africa with the roads we have and with all the Taxi on the road it going to cause problems.

Tersia  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 03:38 PM
I think self-driving cars obviously work in other countries because they don't have roads like ours and Taxi drivers like us here... I honestly don't think those cars are made to expect a number of taxi's to randomly just push in front of you while driving. I also agree with Sandra - just imagine the job losses it would create if those cars had to become in demand here in South Africa?! But they would probably put the price so high on those cars - only the very elite people would be able to afford it anyway.

Casandra Harvie  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 03:20 PM
A self-driving car is a great invention, but I don't think it would be very ideal for South Africa seen that we're constantly battling with loadshedding.
I don't think I'd feel very safe in the vehicle not knowing if it will detect any obstructions or potholes on the roads or even if a robot is working or not.

Franzelle  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 03:13 PM
Not really a big fan of self-driving cars. I personally feel much safer if I am in control of the vehicle. I personally thinks this is not a good idea for SA

Jolene  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 11:37 AM
I would love a self-driving car. I think it will be scary in the beginning, but you will get used to it. Sitting in traffic is such a waste of time when you drive yourself, imagine how much you can get done if you don’t have to worry about focusing on the road.

Henrietta  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 11:24 AM
I must admit that a self driving car sounds like a dream. Imagine stuck in traffic you can just sit back and relax the car will handle the traffic for you, long distance road trips. Also these types of cars goes through so many tests before being launched. Imagine the lawsuit they can face if they didn't go through every test, crossed every t and dot every i. I wont mind owning a car like this.

Mbali  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 08:31 AM
If and when this happens, my concern here is. If there is no driver who controls the vehicle, who is then responsible for the safety of its passengers and of those who travel or walk on the same roads?

Chantel  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 08:13 AM
I think it is something you will have to get used to; I personally don't think I'll feel comfortable with a self-driving car (Well maybe if you go on holiday and it's a long a quiet road then yes MAYBE).
I don't even like automatic cars. With a manual car I feel more in control, and to get out of a dangerous situation seems easier.

Tiffany Bonn  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 08:12 AM
I think this is a great idea especially for those who cannot drive, self-driving cars would be reliable and safe to do so. It would also be a n advantage to the disabled and elderly.

david  said:
on Wednesday 30-Aug-23 06:47 AM
i am a complete petrol head an love driving, but i'd get a self driving car. would not use the feature all the time, just for the boring stuff - the karoo and the commute type of thing. sweeping mountain passes etc, i will be handling, thanks very much!

Lerato  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 04:49 PM
In my opinion, until SA finds more cleaner ways of producing electricity, such as solar energy or wind turbines to produce its electricity, the idea of electric (self-driving) cars might not be a considerable option. I think SA's carbon footprint, (CO2 emission) might double due to the increased demand of electricity (with no end in sight for loadshedding), which in the end will not be doing much help to the environment.

Melissa  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 04:29 PM
Not really a big fan of self-driving cars. I personally feel much safer if I am in control of the vehicle and also how will the self-driving cars know how to get out of a dangerous situation.

sandra  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 04:28 PM
Those who depend on driving to make a living may find their career obsolete with the introduction of self-driving cars. Those in the trucking industry, bus drivers, taxi drivers, will all need to find new employment. Fast food delivery and Uber drivers would also find themselves replaced by automated cars.

Claudette De Bruin  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 04:12 PM
It's a great idea as this brings less pollution in the air and more safe driving specially for the older.

Clare   said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 04:09 PM
I am not one for self-driving cars, I mean I am so not someone that driver's automatic cars so I would still like to control my car myself. I also don't feel that this car would work in South Africa due to the loadshedding and high crime rate. Rather just stick to what you know and what you can control. Also, for Drunk people call a Uber.

Mary   said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 04:05 PM
I don't know much about this topic so this blog was very informative. I am not pro self-driving cars because we won't have RAF claims.

Jessica   said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 03:55 PM
Well, I don't know if I will be okay with a car driving itself, also how good are they to monitor other people's driving habits? It would be nice if everyone is forced to drive them, but till then I rather do it myself.

Jennefer Hart  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 03:45 PM
With the uprising loadshedding I doubt that it will be an effective alternative for those in most parts of SA. Although it will drastically decrease the petrol consumption thus in turn benefiting the environment as less petroleum products will be extracted from the earth. Ultimately a great alternative but quite impractical in SA

Roxanne  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 03:45 PM
I think this a great idea especially for the disabled and those to scared to learn how to drive, but personally I wouldn't trust it

Lauren  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 03:40 PM
I think this is great for countries like the USA. However, I wonder whether a self-driving car would adjust to our traffic lights going off due to loadshedding whilst in the middle of an intersection. This happened to me once.

Bianca Taljaard  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 03:36 PM
My son loves Tesla and is always telling us about the amazing features it has, I for one think it is a nice looking car but would not like for it to drive me around.

shona  said:
on Tuesday 29-Aug-23 03:25 PM
lets get load shedding sorted so we can have our own personal uber


Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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