A year ago an automaker from France launched a public transit vehicle in downtown Las Vegas with the full intention of demonstrating to the public that such vehicles could be autonomous by offering free transportation via this self-driving shuttle vehicle. It is unfortunate that this plan came to a crashing halt on its very first day. The driverless shuttle was backed into by a semi-truck. Thankfully, no one was injured, but this incident raised questions about how safe an autonomous vehicle like this could be along with who was responsible when crashes like this took place.
Accidents Will Surely Happen
At the University of Michigan two years ago researchers examined the record of autonomous vehicles during their first million miles of operation. During the time of this study, the majority of such vehicles were Google cars, but there were others included also. While most of the accidents were minor, the study concluded that driverless vehicles accounted for more accidents per mile than cars piloted by humans. Of even more significance was the finding that for each of these accidents the human driver was the one at fault.
The findings of this study seem to indicate that the largest challenge self-driving technology faces are predicting how other vehicles on the road will behave. For instance, let’s look at the Las Vegas accident. Here, it was discovered that the truck unexpectedly backed up and this is not a possibility already programmed into the shuttle’s software. This demonstrates that as long as human drivers act illogically at times, there is a disadvantage for driverless vehicles.
Computers Making Value Judgments
Human drivers are sometimes faced with dangerous situations requiring an immediate decision, like driving on a rural road with only two lanes when an oncoming vehicle suddenly swerves into your lane of traffic. There are some choices you could make, but none are all that good. You might veer into the oncoming lane hoping that the other car stays in your lane, or pull into the shoulder on your side or maybe hit the ditch or a tree. Another option is to remain where you are and pray for the best.
As difficult as it is for you to know exactly what you might do under such circumstances, what could you expect of an autonomous vehicle? Whose safety would it deem most important, that of its passengers or those in the other vehicle? What if the other vehicle was an ambulance or a school bus? While it’s simple enough to get caught up in hypothetical’s, accidents happen every day under unusual circumstances.
Collect For Your Injuries
According to experts, autonomous vehicles are at a huge disadvantage because they currently operate too properly. They come to full stops at stop signs and always obey posted speed limits, and this can put them at risk from being struck by not so careful human drivers. The question is who will be held accountable for an accident caused by a driverless vehicle. This definitely will depend on the particular circumstances surrounding the crash. If it is caused by a defective part, the manufacturer is more likely to be held responsible for failures, but the software company might be held liable if it is due to errors of the car’s logic. Regardless, you will need a good car accident lawyer.
As of now, there have been very few serious injuries associated with self-driving cars. However, as more of these vehicles hit the road, it is a matter of time before this changes. You or someone you love could be injured in an accident with a driverless vehicle. When an accident like that happens, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you sort out your options. Whether it’s a non-injury car accident settlement you need help with or one with injuries, call 702-566-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.