Are Google’s Self-Driving Cars The Way Of The Future?

Google’s self-driving cars are successfully navigating California’s city streets. Up until recently, the automated cars have logged approximately 700,000 hours — but on rural highways only. “Engineers have improved the cars’ software to recognize situations like pedestrian traffic, buses, stop signs held by crossing guards, and hand signals made by cyclists,” CNN reported Monday.

Are Self-Driving Cars Safe?

Experts agree; the answer is yes, and — with some adjustment — self-driving vehicles may even be safer than cars with a human behind the wheel. “A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can’t — and it never gets tired or distracted,” director of Google’s automated car project, Chris Urmson, wrote. Nevada, California, Michigan, and Florida have all legalized Google’s self-driving cars. (As it stands, a human must remain behind the wheel in the event of computer and/or system failure.) The vehicles will not, however, be publicly available until 2017 to 2025. Current models still need some work. Engineers are fine-tuning lane changes, merging scenarios, driving in poor weather conditions, and turning right on red.

What About Accidents?

Google has been taking the cars for trial runs on highways and expressways since 2011. “The only reported accidents have happened when one of the cars was being driven by a person, or they were the fault of another driver,” CNN explains. What would happen in the event of accidental death or car accident injuries, however?

That’s a good question. The answer to that is not entirely clear. You would certainly have a case for an auto accident settlement if the other vehicle was manned by a person — and especially if that person was at fault. The first self-driving cars will likely continue to have a person behind the wheel in the event of emergencies and system failure. Auto accident attorneys and car accident lawyers would certainly do some research to gauge if, and when, a human driver took over — and whether they acted safely and defensively.

Are self-driving cars the way of the future? The answer is most likely yes. Once fine-tuned, automated cars will significantly decrease the likelihood of serious collisions and reduce the need for auto injury lawyers and auto accident settlements.

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