What do Ford, Google, Amazon and Apple have in common? They are all involved in a massive race to create autonomous driving technology, and many people are unaware of just how close self-driving cars are becoming to reality. Autonomous driving may create as many legal problems in the future as the concept claims to solve for the driving public because questions will be raised over whether drivers should be held liable for the actions of a computer acting on their behalves. The Chicago car accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are already tackling these questions in preparation for the inevitability of self-driving technology.Self-Driving Technology is Already Here
When asked, most people will admit that they feel the mass production of autonomous vehicles is in the distant future. This conflicts with the reality that many self-driving prototypes already exist and are currently being tested all around the world. Some governments have even begun to develop correlating technology for highways which can be used to support the current developments being made by Google, Tesla and other major automakers.
Most hands-free driving technology allows drivers to switch into an autopilot mode while on the highways and then to take control in a manner similar to using cruise control such as applying the brake of making a movement of the steering wheel. A true autonomous vehicle that can be trusted on all roads and driving conditions hasn’t been developed yet, but the possibility of vehicles which can drive autonomously in some capacity has already been realized.
Nissan and Mobileye are two companies that have promised the ability of vehicles to navigate city traffic by the year 2018. They are competing with Apple, Amazon and a myriad of other technology companies that are all trying to catch up to Google and Tesla. Google’s self-driving vehicles have already made it onto the roads in California, so it is only a matter of time before we see self-driving vehicles from major automakers like Ford, Nissan, Mercedes, Tesla and Audi. Toyota is even rumored to have entered the race.Who is Responsible for the Actions of a Computer in a Car Accident?
The question of liability for the actions of autonomous vehicles could not be more epitomized through the Fetch feature installed on Tesla self-driving vehicles. This feature activates the vehicle and guides it to the user without a single occupant inside. Should the vehicle encounter a pedestrian, motorcyclist or another vehicle and be involved in an accident, who is to blame? The victim deserves to be compensated if the accident was not his or her fault, but can you argue that a person is responsible for what his or her car did when he or she was not even inside at the time of the accident?
Another question that needs to be asked is how investigators can effectively reconstruct the events leading up to an accident if there is a lack of reliable testimony. A computer is unable to give you a reliable recollection of events and cannot report how the opposing party acted prior to collision.
In the event that the vehicle is occupied, how do you determine liability when the vehicle is designed to allow the driver to take his or her attention from the road to focus on other matters? Is the accident the fault of a driver who failed to take control of the vehicle back or the fault of a defective program or machine?
Current technology is designed to alert the driver to the need to take over the wheel, but it is easy for the driver to hide behind the claim that the technology did not alert him or her quickly enough or that control was not transferred in time. Like many of the safety technologies that have been released in recent years, this technology creates as many questions as it answers and is likely to cause accidents that wouldn’t have taken place had the driver always been in control.The Importance of Strong Legal Counsel to Represent Your Interests in a Collision With a Self-Driving Vehicle
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is an award winning law firm which has been able to help thousands of clients recover the compensation they needed to cover the costs of their medical care and additional expenses following a car accident. Our attorneys are experienced, knowledgeable and able to view any case from all angles in order to answer difficult legal questions.
If you have been in an accident, our Chicago autonomous driving attorneys can give you the greatest chance of collecting the maximum amount of compensation the law will allow. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation so that we can review your legal options, answer any questions you may have and let you know how we can help you. If we are unable to secure compensation on your behalf for any reason at all, you are assured our services will be free of charge.