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Fatal Uber Accident and the Future of Self-Driving, Autonomous Vehicles

A March 2018 fatal Uber accident is a sobering reminder that self-driving vehicle technology needs some improvement before it can be considered completely safe, as the test vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian while operating in autonomous mode. According to the Baltimore Sun, the victim was walking her bicycle across the street when she was hit, though questions remain regarding how the technology could have failed under the circumstances. The incident marks the first fatality involving a self-driving car, though others have reported receiving injuries in Uber accidents.

Though it may be some time before you will be riding in a self-driving car, you might find it useful to review some information on accidents involving autonomous vehicles and the importance of retaining an attorney any time you are hurt in a collision.

Government Slow to Regulate the Industry

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to make the roads safer, but only when their operation is flawless and does not pose a risk to passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycle riders, and others. Many experts assert that the autonomous car technology is lagging, in part because the federal government has not yet implemented sufficient regulations that would put superior products on US roadways. The majority of federal auto safety rules are more than 25 years old, so they tend to limit innovation. US Congressional attempts to pass definitive standards, as recommended by the Society of Automotive Engineers, have stagnated in both the Senate and House.

Factors Contributing to Self-Driving Vehicle Accidents

Technology has advanced significantly with respect to autonomous vehicles but, unfortunately, it is still an issue in the top two causes behind these collisions:

  • Self-driving vehicle sensors cannot perform as intended when they are unable to detect hazards, obstacles, and other conditions surrounding the vehicle. Sensor capabilities can be affected by blurred GPS readings, insufficient camera lighting, LIDAR sensitivities, and other factors. Any interference disrupts the sensor’s communication with the vehicle’s computer, affecting the ability to react.
  • Autonomous vehicle software developers try to plan for every possible traffic-related scenario, but unexpected contingencies are a fact of life. Self-driving vehicle technology collects data from its environment and adjusts to new information from sensors, but it cannot adapt to situations that are beyond its programming.

Never Forget Human Error

an issue in an accident. The negligence of motor vehicle drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others on the road will always pose a risk to victims. Fortunately, Maryland law protects your rights if you were hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, regardless of whether a computer or human was behind the wheel.

The recent Uber crash demonstrates that auto accidents can happen under a wide range of circumstances, but fault and liability are still central to a car accident claim. As a victim, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses caused by your injuries, and having an experienced attorney on your side is critical to your recovery. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please contact the Law Office of Michael A. Freedman in Owings Mills, MD.

 

See Related Blog Posts:

What to do After an Uber Accident

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Baltimore County Car Accident Lawyer

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