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Can Self-Driving Cars Really Maneuver Safely On Our Roads?

Remember all of those science fiction cartoons that promised artificial intelligence and self-driving vehicles? Well, they've made good on their promises. The age of automated intelligence has arrived, and self-driving cars are part of present-day technology rather than futuristic predictions. As automotive companies race to be the first to produce the first fully-automated car, many consumers are carefully monitoring the progress of this technology. 

Unfortunately, there seems to be an ever-growing list of risks associated with these new vehicles. According to a recent report from ABC 7 News in California, the car company Tesla is now embroiled in a federal investigation after one its self-driving vehicles failed to take into account a nearby truck, resulting in the death of a 40-year-old man in Florida. 


The Tesla incident: What you need to know 

The incident involving the self-driving Tesla vehicle that spurred the federal investigation stems from an accident that took place in May 2016. At the time, the Tesla vehicle was in autopilot mode, meaning that the vehicle was operating based on its own technology. While traveling on the roadway, the vehicle inadvertently ran into a semi-truck because the technology did not detect the impending vehicle. 

The driver, who was watching a video in his car at the time of the accident because the autopilot mode had been activated, was killed in the crash. Experts believe that the technology failed because the side of the tractor-trailer was a white color, which was not detected by the technology due to the bright sky conditions. Given the fact that neither the driver nor the autopilot system noticed the tractor-trailer, the brake was not applied.

While the autopilot mode was enacted at the time of the accident, Tesla maintains that it is imperative that drivers should maintain awareness while the car is in motion. However, the company did express regret regarding the technological malfunction that resulted in the loss of life. 

What are the risks of self-driving vehicles?

It's important for drivers to recognize that there are still many risks to operating self-driving vehicles, particularly since this is still a relatively new technology. Some of the most notable risks of these new types of vehicles include:

  • Technological malfunctions — Autonomous vehicles operate on their own based on technology that is designed to make its own decisions. This technology is still new, and like all technology, it is prone to issues. Unfortunately, in the case of self-driving cars, the bugs that can impact autonomous vehicle technology can have devastating consequences.
  • Distracted drivers — Too many drivers assume that they can accomplish other tasks while their vehicle drives itself. However, despite this technology, drivers still need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Self-driving vehicles are a captivating technological feat, making them attractive to drivers who are interested in investing in the latest and greatest technology available. However, it's important to recognize that these vehicles are still being tested and perfected, and that there are still fixes that need to be made in order to make them ready for the roads. 

As car companies roll out these vehicles in the coming years, drivers should be aware of the risks and should make an effort to operate these vehicles responsibly.

If you are injured as a result of an autonomous vehicle malfunction

Motor vehicle accidents involving self-driving cars can lead to injury or even death, as was evidenced in the Tesla incident of 2016. If you or someone that you love is injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident that involves an autonomous vehicle, it's important that you contact a qualified personal injury. A Denver personal injury attorney who stays informed about the latest driving technology and who recognizes the implications that these vehicles can have on society will be able to collect the evidence necessary to get you the compensation that you deserve.

If the owner or car manufacturer was negligent in the case of the accident, you will need an attorney on your side who will advocate for your rights and fight tirelessly until you get the results that you expect. While there are many benefits to autonomous vehicles, there are still a great many risks that must be considered.


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