Self-Driving Cars are on the Rise

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    October 2 2019

    There is a lot of hype around self-driving cars. There is no doubt that this new technology will change the car industry. Soon, standard vehicles could be a thing of the past. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has said that buying a vehicle that cannot upgrade to full self-driving capabilities is like “buying a horse instead of a car in 2019.”

    Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles or driverless cars, are vehicles that operate safely without a human driver. These driverless vehicles use a combination of sensors including radar, sonar, lidar, and GPS, to perceive their surroundings. Using artificial intelligence, they are able to interpret these surroundings, including obstacles in their path and road signage, to operate safely with little or no driver assistance.

    Self-Driving Cars are on the Rise
    Self-Driving Cars are on the Rise

    Companies that are Steering the Way

    There are several key players involved in the self-driving car industry, including:

    • Alphabet (the parent company of Google)
    • Tesla
    • General Motors
    • Ford
    • Volkswagen
    • Volvo 
    • Nissan
    • Intel
    • Cruise
    • Toyota
    • Nvidia

    These carmakers and technology firms have invested billions of dollars into the development and testing of driverless cars.

    Safety Comes First with Self-Driving Cars

    Autonomous cars may help reduce accidents and fatalities on the road by eliminating human error behind the wheel. The National Safety Council (NSC) has released estimates that at least 40,000 Americans die each year in car accidents. The vast majority of car crashes are caused by human mistakes, including fatigue, bad judgment, drunk driving, speeding, texting while driving, and many others. 

    Have you or a loved one been the victim in a car accident in Las Vegas, due to the negligence of someone else? Anthem Injury Lawyers offers you the benefit our experience and expertise as car accident lawyers. Get in touch with us today for your free consultation. Call (702) 857-6000 now.

    As Karl Iagnemma, the president of self-driving at Aptiv (which builds self-driving technology for Lyft and other fleets) told CBS News, “These cars never get drowsy. They’re never impaired by alcohol. They’re never distracted by their cell phones. It pretty much still looks like a regular car.”

    Consumer Reports, the non-profit organization dedicated to unbiased product testing and reviews, recently released a report stating that autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to improve driver safety. However, Consumer Reports encourages automakers to take the necessary steps to ensure that vehicles with driverless steering systems are designed, deployed, and marketed safely.

    Self-Driving Cars are More Environmentally Friendly

    Self-driving cars are electric vehicles. They are better for the environment than regular cars since they use electricity instead of combustion engines and therefore produce less emissions that cause air pollution. 

    Passengers Can Enjoy the Ride in Autonomous Vehicles

    Another upside of self-driving cars is that passengers don’t have to worry about driving or focusing on the road. Instead, they can text on their phones, watch TV, or engage in other enjoyable activities. 

    Autonomous driving taxis and ride-hailing services are already becoming available. Uber, Lyft and Google-owned Waymo offer these ride-sharing services in cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Dallas. 

    According to the Secretary of the National Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao, in addition to safety, automated driving system technology “offers important social benefits by improving access to transportation, independence and quality of life for those who cannot drive because of illness, advanced age or disability.”

    Autonomous Cars Will Reduce the Cost of Transporting Goods

    Autonomous vehicle technology has implications for the trucking industry as well. According to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, using self-driving trucks to transport goods across long distances could greatly reduce the cost of transport, with savings of up to 40%. 

    On the flip side, there is a fear that self-driving cars will lead to a massive loss of jobs. In addition to truck drivers, taxi and ride-sharing service drivers will lose their jobs if their services are no longer required. 

    There Have Been Fatal Incidents with Self-Driving Cars

    Although the technology powering autonomous vehicles has come a long way and is improving every day, accidents have occurred. Recently, there were two fatalities associated with self-driving cars. In the first, an autonomous Uber vehicle struck and killed a woman who was crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona. The vehicle was in self-driving mode at the time of the crash. A safety driver was behind the steering wheel, but she was watching a TV show on her phone, according to the Tempe Police Department. This was the first time that a fatal collision occurred between a driverless car and a pedestrian.

    If you have been the victim of a car accident in Las Vegas which was the fault of another; or someone you love has been injured or killed due to the negligence of another person behind the wheel, please contact Anthem Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Call (702) 857-6000 now.

    Additionally, a Tesla Model X caught fire and resulted in a fatal crash. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash and Tesla confirmed that Autopilot had been activated at the time of the crash. According to the California Highway Patrol, a Model X hit the median barrier on Highway 101 in Mountain View, quickly caught on fire, and then got hit by two other cars. It’s still unclear how or why the vehicle moved from the lane to the barrier. Tesla maintains that the Autopilot function successfully completed “over 200 trips per day” on that very same road. 

    The Department of Transportation recently released revised guidelines under the Trump administration for automated driving systems. The guidelines outline the recommended best practices for companies developing self-driving cars.

    There have been other proposals for improving the safety of driverless cars as well. In California and New York, there have been proposals for dedicating highway lanes for the sole use of self-driving cars. According to these proposals, the dedicated lanes would offer other benefits to passengers as well. By increasing the speed limit to 120 miles per hour, they would enable passengers to get to their destinations faster and reduce the traffic jams caused by low-speed lanes.

    A survey conducted by Autonomous Vehicles California, a public advocacy organization for the use of autonomous vehicles in California, shows that 72% of survey respondents are in support of a dedicated highway lane on public roads for self-driving cars. Moreover, the study shows that nearly 60% of respondents would feel more comfortable sharing the road with self-driving cars if they had a designated lane. 

    Consumers Remain Wary of Autonomous Driving

    In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in May 2017, 54% of U.S. adults said that they were somewhat or very worried about the development of driverless vehicles. In this same study, only 40% of respondents said that they were enthusiastic about driverless cars. A majority of U.S. adults (56%) also said they would not personally want to ride in a driverless car if they had the opportunity, compared with 44% who would. 

    The impact of the two fatal crashes mentioned above has further decreased consumers’ interest in self-driving cars. According to a new survey by insurer Allianz Global, the interest in self-driving cars has decreased from 53% to 43%. Allianz’s Director of Communications, Daniel Durazo, says “Many Americans are far from being convinced that self-driving cars can be operated safely on our streets.”

    Contact an Experienced Attorney if you Have Been Involved in an Accident with a Self-Driving Car

    Were you or a loved one in a car accident involving a self-driving vehicle (or any other vehicle operated by someone else)?  If so, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer for legal advice.  You deserve an experienced personal injury lawyer to fight for your rights and make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve.

    Anthem Injury Lawyers are based in the Las Vegas, Nevada area and are ready to speak to you today. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 for a Free Consultation.

    Published by Anthony Golden

    Attorney Anthony B. Golden (“Tony”) is one of the founding partners of Anthem Injury Lawyers. Tony represents clients in all aspects of personal injury cases, from pre-litigation through jury trials and appeals. Tony has a proven track record of successfully representing clients in trials, arbitration, and appeals, as well as assisting clients in resolving high-value cases in mediation.

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