The vast majority of vehicles on our roadways are operated by a human driver. While cars, trucks, buses, and vans will continue to be primarily operated by human drivers for the foreseeable future, technology has come a long way towards changing that. In the past decade or so, more tech companies, universities, and inventors are working to get driverless vehicles on the road.
There are many promising aspects of a future with driverless vehicles. While many people enjoy taking their car out for a drive, most people come to hate their daily commute, as they crawl along through bumper-to-bumper traffic. A driverless car would allow occupants to catch up on work, read the newspaper, watch a movie, or even take a nap. Driverless cars are also not prone to the human problems of distracted driving, drunk driving, or drowsy driving.
The most well-known example of driverless vehicles on the road in America include Google's self-driving car. Developed as part of Google X, the company has been working to develop autonomous cars for over a decade. Now, legislation has been passed in a number of states and Washington, D.C. to allow driverless vehicles on the road. While these vehicles are still in development, Google wants to make these cars available to the public in the not too distant future.
Another high-profile company working on driverless vehicles is Tesla. While they have not yet released any driverless cars to the public, their vehicles have an “auto-pilot” capability, that takes much of the vehicle operation out of the driver's hands. The breakthrough technology uses a combination of radar, sensors, cameras, and data to automatically steer the vehicle down the road, including changing lanes, adjusting to traffic speeds, and even parallel parks the vehicle. While the company says drivers still have to pay attention to the road and be ready to take over if anything goes wrong, some drivers are using the feature as a substitute driver.
Why Driverless Vehicles Crash
The problem with the Google self-driving car, Tesla's auto-pilot, and other driverless vehicle programs is that these vehicles can still be involved in accidents. When these cars are involved in an accident, it may be unclear who is to blame for the damage. In some cases, it is the car company, in other cases, it is another negligent driver. This is an evolving area of personal injury law, and may become more common as more driverless vehicles hit the road.
Google and Tesla have both had some high-profile crashes. Recently, a Tesla driver was killed while utilizing the auto-pilot feature. In May 2015, a driver in Florida was killed in an accident while his auto-pilot system was activated. A tractor-trailer moved in front of the Tesla, which failed to apply the brakes in time. While the driver has been accused of using the system improperly, including watching a movie at the time of the accident, federal investigators are looking into the accident.
Earlier, a Google self-driving car was recorded on video in a collision with a bus. While no one was hurt in the car or on the bus, the accident was one of more than a dozen reported by the company. Most of those collisions involved the self-driving car being rear-ended by another vehicle; however, it is unclear how many accidents were attributable to the self-driving vehicle or vehicle software.
Like any auto accident, there may be a number of causes why a self-driving vehicle is involved in an accident. It could include software or hardware problems of the self-driving vehicle or another negligent driver causing the accident with the self-driving car. However, because the self-driving car is operated by technology and software, it may be difficult to determine who is at fault for the accident, and which party is liable for any damages causes.
Driverless Vehicle Injury Lawsuits
When someone is injured in a driverless vehicle accident, the drivers, designers, or company responsible for causing the accident should have to pay for the damages. An injured individual may be able to file a personal lawsuit for money damages to compensate them for their medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Driverless Vehicle Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a driverless car, you should talk to an experienced Maryland 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. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer pain or loss due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.