Horton, Ballard & Pemerton PLLCHorton, Ballard
& Pemerton PLLC
P: 423-243-3783 TF: 800-819-3927

Safe integration of self-driving cars still far in the future

Tennessee residents may be happy or frustrated to know that self-driving cars have a while to go before they can be safely integrated. This is the conclusion of a report from the Rand Corporation. Researchers say that self-driving cars may need to be test driven for millions or billions of miles before they can prove themselves reliable in preventing crashes.

Waymo has put in approximately 10 million miles of test driving in the real world and 7 billion miles on virtual roads using simulation technology, yet Rand suggests that even this amount is insufficient. It may take decades or even centuries for companies to complete a sufficient amount of testing.

In addition, the report calls for automakers to consider all the variables when testing self-driving cars. One company, Nvidia, has announced a simulation platform called Drive Constellation that may meet Rand's expectations in this regard. With the platform, developers can test thousands of scenarios in virtual reality and note the effect of things like weather, the angle of the sun, road conditions, traffic flow and pedestrian behaviors.

That self-driving cars are not entirely safe is already well-known. In May 2016, a man was killed when his Tesla Model S, which was set to Autopilot, crashed into a truck. The first pedestrian fatality involving a self-driving car took place in March 2018 in Arizona.

Those who are injured in a motor vehicle accident may find out that the other vehicle was a self-driving one. This will likely complicate the matter of liability and the chances of being able to file a personal injury claim, so victims may want to discuss the situation with a lawyer. With legal representation, they may file a claim against the automaker or against the driver's auto insurance company. The lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement.

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