Self-driving cars are the new frontier of automotive technology. Some business analysts estimate these will be commonplace by the year 2020, even overtaking conventional vehicles by 2030. Although they promise more safety and convenience, there are still many questions that remain in the case of an accident.
Google has been leading the push for self-driving or autonomous vehicles. With an array of sensors and sophisticated control mechanisms, these small, driverless vehicles have been spotted around Mountain View, California, home of Googles global headquarters. Several major auto-makers also have self-driving cars in the works. Tesla Motors, known for its high-powered electric sports cars, is planning on making these commercially available in the next five years.
Many of the new sensor technologies developed for these cars are already being implemented in traditional vehicles. Blind-spot detectors, automatic collision detection, and rear-object sensors are common features on newer cars. All of these were innovations created in the research phase of developing autonomous cars.
One of the chief reasons for developing these cars is increased safety. Over 90 percent of car accidents are due to driver fault. Driverless cars will not be distracted, get drowsy or be in danger of driving while intoxicated. Impaired vision or slowed reaction time in disabled drivers will no longer be an issue.
The current sensor technology allows these cars to detect vehicles as far as 200 yards away, and even distinguish between emergency vehicles and respond appropriately. In a recent report, accidents involving Googles self-driving cars, although higher than average, were all a result of another drivers error, rather than a problem with the autonomous car itself.
Although these early test vehicles are extremely reliable, anyone who owns a car or a computer knows that mass-produced complex machinery is prone to failure. Can we truly trust these vehicles? What happens when there is an accident with a self-driving car? Current prototypes allow a human driver to take over at any point, but this feature might not be available in the future.
Although Texas has proposed a law, no state currently has comprehensive laws governing autonomous vehicles. If self-driving cars take over, will traditional auto liability insurance be a requirement? Will the car manufacturer bear responsibility in the case of an accident? These and many more questions are sure to come up once these cars become commercially viable.
Future technology is exciting, but comes with many cautions. As a team of experienced Knoxville auto accident lawyers, Greg Coleman Law is keeping on top of the latest legal developments involving self-driving cars.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call a personal injury attorney from Greg Coleman Law today. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.