After recent car accidents in the United States involving autonomous vehicles, one of which was fatal, many safety experts are claiming that this could be the most dangerous time for drivers.
In a recent interview with CNBC, the head of Duke University Robotics Mary Cummings stated that as we move toward a world of fully autonomous vehicles, we will first have to go through a scary period involving partially autonomous cars, as we are currently experiencing.
She noted that automakers and tech companies are all competing to get autonomous vehicles on the roads. In that effort many have already released semi-autonomous technology with the expectation that the driver will intervene occasionally. Unfortunately, Cummings noted that this is the worst time to expect that a human will intervene.
As recent accidents have demonstrated, humans are not intervening as expected to prevent accidents.
The first accident involving a vehicle driving in autonomous mode occurred in Florida in May. The driver in a Tesla Model S was killed when the vehicle failed to recognize a semi-truck turning in front of it. The car went under the tractor trailer, killing the driver.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the accident and examining Tesla’s autonomous system.
Other experts have noted that this transition period could last for an extended time, as more people are keeping their vehicles for longer. This could greatly increase the mix of autonomous and regular vehicles on the road. A mix that many consider to be dangerous.
The auto accident lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners are closely monitoring the transition to autonomous vehicles. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact us for a free consultation to determine if you have a case and may be entitled to compensation.