Driverless vehicles have been depicted as the future of transportation in many science fiction movies and TV shows. However, over the past few years, real self-driving cars have begun to hit the streets. A number of tech companies, including Google and Apple have been testing the new technology. Other companies, like Tesla, are selling vehicles with a semi-autonomous autopilot mode. While these vehicles may be the wave of the future, they can also be responsible for causing accidents and injuring pedestrians, other drivers, and even occupants of driverless vehicles.
Driverless Vehicles Accidents
Google's Waymo self-driving cars have been operating on the streets of Chandler, Arizona. Another driverless car company is testing their vehicles out in Boston. Las Vegas has seen an autonomous bus transport. Soon, driverless vehicles may be coming to the streets of Philly.
According to CBS Philly, PennDOT officials have said that they could see driverless vehicle testing on the roads within a year. Officials are drafting legislation and policies for testing the vehicles on Pennsylvania roads. Some of the major concerns involve how these cars will be marked, and whether they will require a driver behind the wheel to take over in the event of an emergency.
Autonomous car companies have been touting the safety of self-driving cars; however, there are still a number of bugs to be worked out, including how the computer-based driving systems will react to real-world road hazards and emergencies. There have been a number of driverless vehicle accidents over the past couple of years.
In June 2016, a driver behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S was operating the vehicle in autopilot mode. When an 18-wheel truck pulled in front of the car, the Tesla crashed full-speed into the truck, killing the driver.
In February 2016, a Google autonomous vehicle was preparing to turn when it collided with a city bus. The accident occurred at low speed and no one was injured. However, the vehicle apparently had trouble predicting the path of the bus, causing the accident. Since then, Google has admitted their vehicles have been involved in at least 11 traffic accidents since they began testing.
In December 2016, an Uber autonomous vehicle was caught on video running a red light a full four seconds after the light turned red. While the vehicle was not involved in an accident, a serious accident could have occurred if another vehicle or pedestrian was in the road at the time. Uber said the violation was caused by the human who was behind the wheel.
How Driverless Vehicles Work
A number of technology companies are working on different versions of driverless cars. For now, many of these systems require a human to sit behind the wheel during safety testing. However, the future promises a vehicle that is driven entirely by computers. These promise increased productivity, with workers able to catch up on work, relax with a movie, or even sleep on their commutes to and from work. Driverless vehicles have also cited their ability to reduce drunk driving accidents.
A complex system of sensors, computers, and cameras help driverless vehicles navigate the road. Cameras monitor other vehicles on the road, traffic signals, road markers, pedestrians, and obstructions on the road. Radar sensors help monitor the vehicle's position on the road as well as the position of other vehicle surrounding the driverless vehicles. The data gathered is used by the computer system to steer the vehicle, accelerate, and brake.
Vehicle Accident Injuries
Any type of vehicle accident can lead to serious injuries, including driverless vehicle accidents. Autonomous systems can malfunction at high-speed, leading to serious injury or death. Even low-speed driverless vehicle accidents can lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages, permanent scarring, pain and suffering.
In a traditional motor vehicle accident, the driver at fault for the accident may be liable for the damages. In a driverless vehicle accident, the injured driver or passengers of the other vehicle may have to show that the driverless vehicle malfunctioned, or the individual behind the wheel was not safely operating the vehicle with self-driving features. These types of accidents are not common; however, they may occur more often as more driverless vehicles take to the road.
Driverless Vehicle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a driverless car, you should talk to an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one due to a driverless vehicle accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your family's loss. You should not have to suffer pain or loss due to the negligence of the company behind the driverless vehicle. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.