According to a story printed in The Wall Street Journal in March 2015, self-driving cars could reduce traffic accidents by 90 percent while preventing $190 billion in damages each year. This information was obtained from a report by the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co. The report claims that self-driving vehicles would begin to dominate the road in 15 years. A senior partner at McKinsey & Co. stated, “Autonomous vehicles and the path toward them is one of the most shaping trends in the auto industry today.”
However, from recent news reports, self-driving vehicles are not immune from traffic accidents.
- In February 2016, a Google self-driving car caused a wreck in California. According to the California DMV report, the Google vehicle, a Lexus RX450h, collided with a bus in Mountain View when the vehicle moved into the center lane to make a right turn. No one was injured in the accident.
- A tragic accident in May 2016 involving a Telsa self-driving vehicle claimed the life of one person in Willston, Florida. Reports state that the Autopilot system did not recognize a truck that turned in front of the vehicle; therefore, the brakes were not engaged. The collision claimed the life of the Telsa driver.
- A Telsa Model X crashed in Montana in July 2016 when the SUV went through a guardrail and off the road. According to reports, the Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident.
As robotics professor Ryan Eustice, University of Michigan, pointed out, “The idea has been a little bit oversold in terms of having the problems solved.” Self-driving vehicles must still overcome the unreliability of driving in inclement weather, dynamic driving conditions, and routes where maps are outdated.
Technology That Improves Vehicle Safety
While self-driving vehicles are still working out the “kinks,” there is new technology being used to make driving safer. This technology can help drivers avoid accidents. According to USAA, the move toward self-driving vehicles has led to new safety features that are currently offered today on many models.
- Lane-Keep Assist – Steers vehicle back into the correct lane when the vehicle veers into another lane.
- Adaptive Cruise Control – Monitors the distance to the vehicle ahead as well as monitoring the driver-set speed.
- Adaptive Headlights – Improves visibility based on road conditions.
- Collision Warning System – Warning system that alerts the driver if a collision is imminent.
- Electronic Stability Control – Keeps the vehicle on course by slowing individual wheels during a turn.
- Drowsiness Alert – Uses data to determine when the driver needs to take a break.
- Active Park Assist – Parallel parks the vehicle with no driver assistance.
- 360-Degree Camera – Improves the driver’s ability to see when parking or backing up.
In addition to the above features, automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems will become a standard feature on many vehicle models beginning in September 2022. AEB systems have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of rear-end collisions. By making this safety feature a standard feature, the automotive industry is taking a pro-active step in reducing the number of automobile accidents.
Do You Need A Bloomington Car Accident Lawyer?
Regardless of the number of safety features a vehicle may have, traffic accidents still occur. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, our Bloomington car accident lawyer can help.
Call The Ken Nunn Law Office at 1-800-CALL-KEN or 1-800-225-5536 to speak with a Bloomington car accident lawyer. You may also reach our office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our Live Chat feature. Schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation with a Bloomington car accident lawyer today.