Autonomous Cars: Savior or Danger? By Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

Autonomous vehicles may be safer someday; until then we need to deal with dangerous human drivers says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Drivers are often their own worst enemy. Most accidents are caused by drivers making mistakes. They are distracted, drowsy, drunk, aggressive, inexperienced, driving too fast, ignoring the rules of the road or simply inconsiderate. If we mistake-prone human drivers are taken out of the equation, might computer controlled autonomous vehicles cause fewer accidents, injuries and deaths? The jury is still out on that says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Uber Technologies Inc., the ride-sharing company, is planning, long term, to replace its human drivers with a fleet of self-driving cars in order to lower its costs and allow it to avoid the hassles that come with working with human drivers. As part of this plan it’s road testing a number of autonomous vehicles in Arizona, Pennsylvania and California. Earlier this month one of its vehicles was involved in a collision in Tempe and the program was stopped for a short time, according to Bloomberg.

After an investigation it was determined the Uber vehicle, with an engineer behind the wheel to monitor the vehicle, was not at fault and there were no life threatening injuries, according to the Tempe Police Department. Another car failed to yield, causing the collision where the Uber vehicle flipped on its side.

Former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz told CNBC that fully autonomous vehicles might end up having about 10% of the accidents caused by human drivers. He said,

"The autonomous car doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, doesn't text while driving, doesn't get road rage…Young, autonomous cars don't want to race other autonomous cars, and they don't go to sleep…The autonomous car obeys the speed limit at all times, never drifts out of the lane, never tries to pass another car.”

Ford, GM, Tesla, Lyft, Google and Uber are planning to have some form of autonomous car ready within the next five years. Goldman Sachs estimates that by 2030 driverless cars could make up as much as 60% of US auto sales, reports Business Insider. They may be safer than traditional cars with their fallible human drivers for a number of reasons,

  • The cars have a number of sensors including cameras, radar, lasers and ultrasonic sensors. GPS and mapping technology help the car determine its position.
  • A computer controls the car. One model is about the size of a license plate and it uses the data coming in from the sensors to build a three-dimensional model of the car and its environment.
  • The testing being done is to create a model of the real world to teach the computer and its software driving situations so it can decide what to do and not do given what’s happening around it.
  • The computer, based on the model, and the data from the sensors, can track several vehicles and objects all around the vehicle simultaneously.

The hope is that the computer will be able to handle far more input than the human brain, more accurately track the things around it and follow the rules of the road, all resulting in safer driving for the passengers and those all around it.

We haven’t reached this point yet and the roads are filled with mistake prone, sometimes negligent, human drivers. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury caused by the negligence of another driver, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

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