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Self-Driving Cars Might Not Be as Safe as You Think

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2016 | Car Accidents, Distracted Driving

Tesla made headlines in July, but not for their outstanding technology. Instead, they made headlines because their self-driving car claimed its first life. The fatal crash with the Tesla vehicle in autopilot is now raising questions about if self-driving technology is really as safe or effective as it claims to be. The accident itself happened in Florida when the vehicle’s autopilot system and the driver failed to see another driver. According to the company, the vehicle never applied the brake prior to the accident.

How Does Autopilot Work?

Autopilot features are not too far from advanced cruise control systems. They come automatically equipped in higher end vehicles, while the autopilot has only been released on several models – and most are still in their testing phase. The vehicle uses cameras and sensors to pick up the lanes in front and to the side of the vehicle. It uses radars to look for other cars. Its mission is to keep your vehicle in the middle of its lane while not exceeding the speed limit. If a vehicle slows down in front of a car on autopilot, the vehicle will automatically slow – or should, in theory.

Where Did the Tesla Vehicle Go Wrong?

There was a glitch within the Tesla system, though the manufacturer will not admit to such as of yet. Tesla is stating that the tractor trailer that turned in front of the Tesla was all white and the car’s systems did not recognize it against the white sky. This makes sense for the cameras, but it doesn’t make sense as to why the system’s radar detectors did not see the other vehicle. Radars do not detect colors; instead, they detect actual objects. Tesla has not released a clear explanation as to why this occurred; they are stating that it is a system in testing. Therefore, they are attempting to blame the “beta” testing on the accident.

Will Self-Driving Technology Save or Cost More Lives?

A lot of tests have been done, and self-driving technology has a lot of improvements to make. Already there have been articles that show self-driving technology can actually increase the number of accidents – forcing other vehicles to collide with a self-driving vehicle because it is following the speed limit (while most vehicles on the road are not). The Tesla incident is isolated so far, but could be one of many to occur very soon.

What to Do When Accidents Are Caused by Real People (or Technology)

Sometimes technology fails, but if it is at the fault of the manufacturer, the injured party may be able to file a lawsuit against that company for its negligence. If you feel that your car accident was caused by faulty components, including self-driving features, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if your accident was not involving high-tech failures and instead features just regular negligence, contact a personal injury attorney to explore your options. The team of personal injury lawyers at Jacobs Law, LLC can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today at 317-520-9283, or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.


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