Self-driving cars should drive themselves, right? Well, we aren’t quite there yet.
Matthew Avery, Director of Thatcham Research, believes it is important that drivers know what the difference between “hands-on” and “hands-off” cars. He explains that the systems we have today are simply driver assisted systems rather than hands-off systems. “They are simply there to support the driver. But there is a risk that drivers become accustomed to them, and maybe think they’re automated when they’re not,” he says. Self-driving car accidents could be a direct result of people misunderstanding the technology.
Two Recent Self-Driving Car Accidents in California
According to Axios, since 2014, there have been 34 reported accidents involving self-driving cars in California. Two more were added to that list recently as Tesla and GM self-driving cars were involved in road collisions.
The Tesla involved in one of the accidents rear-ended a fire engine that was attending the scene of a separate crash. The driver claimed that the car was in Autopilot mode at the time of the accident. It was reported that the vehicle was traveling nearly 65 mph at the time of impact with the fire engine. Unbelievably, there were no injuries reported. The US National Transportation Board is expected to investigate the incident.
The GM car was involved in a separate accident near San Francisco with a motorcycle. The rider of the motorcycle was badly injured in the accident and is now suing GM for his damages according to the Mercury News.
What is Being Done?
Tesla’s autopilot system does much of what one might expect. It can brake, accelerate, and steer in certain conditions. Other manufacturers such as Volvo and Mercedes have very similar technology on some of their models. However, these cars are not meant to be relied on as completely self-driving. As a driver, you must remain alert and be prepared to take over the controls at any moment.
Due to recent accidents, Tesla has begun to introduce new safety technology in its vehicles. One of these technologies includes installing a system that brings the car to a stop if the driver lets go of the steering wheel for too long. Other foreign car companies have invested in an advanced form of cruise control that can be used over long distances and turned on or off at any time.
Do the Benefits of Self-Driving Cars Outweigh the Risks?
Many think that the potential benefits of these vehicles outweigh the risks. Chris Valasek, who works on GM self-driving cars explains that in the future, a completely autonomous car will prevent people from injuring themselves or others while driving drunk, tired, or distracted. Most experts tend to agree.
According to Sven Beiker, former head of Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research, more than 90% of accidents are caused by human error. On a global scale, this translates to about 1.2 million people dying in car accidents each year. The advancement of self-driving cars should be an interesting development to keep track of as hands-off technology is not far away. The Department of Motor Vehicles is now debating new regulations that would allow testing of self-driving cars without a human sitting in the driver’s seat.
Injured in an Accident Involving a Self-Driving Car?
If you have been in an accident involving a self-driving car and have sustained significant damages, contact Mickey Fine today. Mickey has the experience that is necessary to get you the compensation that you deserve. Car manufacturers are backed by powerful insurance companies that will try to settle with you for less than you deserve. Don’t let this happen to you! Mickey will stand up to the insurance companies and fight hard on your behalf. Call him today for a free case evaluation.