Mobileye, an Israeli firm that designs driver-assist technology, has begun testing its self-driving car in New York City. This move signals a step forward with the technology, which several companies are looking to implement in their vehicles in the near future. However, self-driving cars have proved to be problematic for several reasons, and many people still hold safety concerns about bringing them to busy city streets.

Who is Mobileye?

Mobileye is an Israeli technology company specializing in driver-assist technology, which was purchased by Intel in 2017. The company previously manufactured technology for Tesla, but has since gone on to work with BMW and Volkswagen. Mobileye’s test vehicle represents the first time the company has created a fully autonomous self-driving car capable of navigating on city streets.

What Are Self-Driving Cars?

The term “self-driving car” refers to a vehicle with advanced driver-assist technology that is capable of driving the car without help from a human driver. While lesser forms of driver-assist technology are already commercially available, those technologies mostly help with braking to avoid sudden collisions, or help with parallel parking. In the case of self-driving cars, a human is only required to be present in case there is a technological malfunction and they need to manually take control of the vehicle.

Why is This Test Important?

Until recently, most self-driving cars have been tested either on specially prepared test-tracks, or in areas with low populations where there is relatively little potential for interference. Meanwhile, city streets pose a number of challenges that self-driving cars have traditionally had difficulty with, including pedestrians, light pollution, and cars violating traffic laws. If the testing goes well, it could indicate the technology is ready to be used in commercially available vehicles.

How Do People Feel About This Test?

Mobileye is only the second company to ever receive a permit to test a self-driving car on the streets of New York City, and the first to actually carry out such a test. A major part of the reason for this is how many people fear the technology is not yet ready for use in such a public place. This is due, in part, to a large number of stories about accidents involving self-driving cars, some of which have resulted in fatalities. However, some people believe that once self-driving cars become commonplace, they will lead to far fewer accidents, eliminating the risk posed by human error. It may be some time before that dream becomes a reality, though.

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