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Self-Driving Cars: Are They Safe?

The concept of futuristic self-driving cars may seem like something out of a “Jetson’s” cartoon. However, these cars are designed to help people and their vehicles navigate the world while experiencing fewer incidents or dangerous accidents.

A major cause of auto accidents is human error, as a personal injury lawyer Memphis TN trusts can explain. One of the major arguments in favor of self-driving cars is that they will eliminate common mistakes made by drivers. This might include:

  • Distractions. Computer-driven vehicles are less vulnerable to distractions because the computer is programmed to exclusively focus on road conditions and potential hazards.
  • Driving under the influence. Sadly, many accidents are caused by drivers who are under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. As a result, their reaction times are slowed and they make poor decisions. A self-driving car is not vulnerable to such influences.

Working Out The Kinks

However, just like with anything new, there will be a trial and error period to perfect the technology of self-driven cars. Until then they may not work as they should.

These cars are fitted with sensors designed to detect when the vehicle performs an action that may be hazardous. Sensors stream information to a central computer system. However, a computer can freeze, shut down, and have all sorts of issues. Since a self-driven car is loaded with technology, there is a definite chance that anything can go wrong. A personal computer can freeze at will and typically must be rebooted as a result. Extrapolate that into all the possibilities for a vehicle with a complex computerized system and the imagined result might be total chaos.

A Mixed Response

Many will be fearful of these new cars. The very idea that a vehicle can drive itself is eerie to many people. The corporation that is literally driving the concept of self-driving cars is Google. They are pushing the market to accept and embrace this as a growth industry. Google’s claim is that self-driving cars are safer with a computer behind the wheel rather than a fault-prone human.

Sensors Detect Your Every Move

Self-driving cars have sensors that can detect lane demarcations, obstacles on roads, stop lights, and much more. Global Positioning Data is linked to the car to help it stay on course. The first dozen cars that Google has used in the testing process now have at least 700,000 miles on them. Perhaps surprisingly, only two accidents have occurred to date with these cars.

Accidents aside, these cars have internal systems with reputations for consistent failure. These embarrassing glitches can occur in the automatic braking system as well as the overall computer system. While the self-driving cars remain in testing phases, it is estimated that they will be on every car lot in America by the year 2020. Currently, Google wants to improve upon the concept. They are in the process of launching an ambitious testing program that will follow 200 autonomous vehicles to make sure they are safe. Every aspect of the car’s performance will be tracked and evaluated.

Future Lawsuits

The future looks promising for the automotive industry and perhaps even for self-driven cars. However, there are many challenges that need to be overcome and issues that must be solved. occur with these newfangled systems. Time will tell how many lawsuits arise due to self-driving cars and their vulnerabilities.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Patterson Bray for their insight into car accident cases.