The District of Columbia area is one where engineers were disappointed in the performance of one self-driving car that was unable to merge across three lanes of traffic on I-395. In that particular test, the car was unable to make the judgment that a human driver would that the other drivers would allow room for it in the flow. This type of error is one of several problems engineers are grappling with as they attempt to get self-driving cars road ready.
While they are touted as safer than human drivers, self-driving cars are actually involved in crashes at a rate double that of cars driven by humans. However, the crashes are the fault of the human drivers. The problem is that self-driving cars and human drivers fail to anticipate how the other will react. Self-driving cars are almost overly law-abiding, and a result, there have been a number of low-speed crashes. For example, in one, a self-driving car was inching into an intersection to turn right on red when it was bumped from behind by a human-driven car traveling 4 miles per hour.
Another issue engineers must content with is an ethical one. Cars will need to be able to make a choice when they face a dilemma such as either killing a driver or hitting a school bus.
If all cars were self-driving, the roads might be safer, but with many human drivers on the road, there continue to be errors. An individual involved in a car accident might be seriously injured. If a self-driving car causes the accident, the manufacturers may be responsible. This might also be the case if it is a conventional car with a faulty part. In other cases, the driver might be responsible. The injured victim might want to have the assistance of an attorney in filing a lawsuit against the responsible party seeking compensation for medical expenses and other losses.