District of Columbia residents may be aware that several manufacturers are currently working on developing a self-driving car. Google has been testing its prototype autonomous vehicle for some time on California roadways, and Mercedes-Benz also has plans to bring a self-driving car to showrooms. While some welcome the new technology and see it improving road safety, others are concerned that not having a human in control will lead to more accidents.
According to Google, human error contributes to 94 percent of automobile accidents, but safety advocates wonder how self-driving cars will handle difficult decisions such as choosing between driving onto a sidewalk and striking an oncoming vehicle. They also point out that there are still problems with the technology that will need to be rectified before autonomous vehicles are offered to the public. Self-driving cars have had difficulty recognizing hand signals, and there have also been reliability problems in inclement weather.
Automobile manufacturers and technology companies have invested heavily in autonomous vehicle technology, and they have taken proactive steps to calm safety concerns. Mercedes-Benz and Google have said that they will accept responsibility for any accident caused by one of their self-driving vehicles, and Volvo made the same pledge when it announced its own self-driving car.
Self-driving vehicles could have a significant impact on lawsuits filed in connection with motor vehicle accidents. These cases often hinge on establishing which motorist had the right of way and how fast the vehicles involved were traveling. Self-driving cars have numerous sensors and cameras that constantly monitor road conditions and vehicle functions, and personal injury attorneys may be able to use this data to get a fuller understanding of what occurred in the moments before a collision. This data could also help to determine liability and negligent behavior.