How Safe Are Self-Driving Cars?

July 8, 2016

self-driving cars title

Are Self-Driving Cars Dangerous?

This past May, a driver an autonomous Tesla car was killed when his vehicle collided with a truck at full speed. This is the first reported death of a driver or passenger in a self-driving cars However, this is not the first accident that has happened in this type of vehicle. Google cars have had more than a dozen accidents; only one report shows the Google car being at fault. So what’s the problem? Why do accidents happen in cars that are supposed to do all the driving?

How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?

self-driving cars

The technology in the new self-driving cars seems great in theory, but there are many hurdles before they will be safe and common on the road.

Google’s and Tesla’s autonomous cars work in very different ways. The Tesla car uses a combination of radar and sensors that surround the car to help you drive. Tesla’s system is comparable to an autopilot in an airplane. The Tesla still has the steering wheel, brake and accelerator pedals, and other manual controls should the driver need to take over. Google cars use LIDAR, a type of technology that uses light to measure distance between objects. The Google car is meant to drive itself meaning that it is capable of being completely autonomous. It can drive, refuel or recharge itself, or even park, without human intervention.

So What’s the Problem?

There are currently several problems with using autonomous cars on the road.

  • Not all the bugs are worked out of the computers, such as Google cars being map dependent. As we all know, maps aren’t perfect.
  • Self-driving cars follow the rules of the road, but human-driven cars don’t always do so. As a result, cars will assume certain reactions, but humans will not behave the way the car expects. This can lead to accidents.
  • Getting everyone into an autonomous car is a big reach; it will be expensive, not everyone wants one and it will be a long time before this happens.
  • There is the threat of hackers taking control over your car and causing accidents or other problems.

Given these and other concerns, a lot needs to happen before we are all riding around in futuristic, self-driving cars. It may be years or decades before we can hop in our cars, push a few buttons, and sit back while our car takes us safely to our destination.

Hurt in an Accident?

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident, whether by a self-driving car or otherwise, contact owenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys. Our group of auto accident lawyers have over 40 of experience getting compensation for those who deserve it. Call us today for a free consultation of your case.


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