Are Self-Driving Cars the Future of Transportation?

Are Self-Driving Cars the Future of Transportation?

Recently there have been announcements of self-driving cars, that don’t require drivers in order to operate. Although it is still not a reality, or these cars are not available to the public, testing for these cars has begun and their profits have been measured.

Uber has teamed up with Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler, on self-driving cars. The cars, along with the autonomous technology, will be manufactured by Daimler before being introduced as a network of driverless cars that can be booked using the Uber app.

Uber has deployed its own self-driving cars, first launched in Pittsburgh, then San Francisco but was forced to stop the program after the California Department of Motor Vehichles stepped in.

Autonomous Cars and Auto Accidents

Uber and Daimler are just a few of several companies working to develop driverless cars in order to reduce road accidents by removing human error.

The following automakers are committed to having driver less cars on roads by 2020:

  • Tesla
  • Google
  • Toyota
  • BMW
  • Volvo
  • Nissan
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Daimler
  • Audi
  • Honda
  • Hyundai

A secondary vision for the plan is to create a form of transportation in which the self-driving cars aren’t owned by individuals but by car and transportation companies.

The California DMV demanded that Uber provide a permit before testing continue,  to ensure that “those testing the vehicle have provided an adequate level of financial responsibility, have adequately trained qualified test drivers on the safe operation of the autonomous technology; and will notify the DMV when the vehicles have been involved in a collision.”

Driverless Cars and Fault in the Event of a Car Crash

The DMV’s demand to be notified in the event of a collision, begs the question who will be responsible if self-driving cars are involved in an accident?

As a passenger in a taxi, bus, or train involved in a crash the injured passengers are entitled to file a claim against the transportation company. When self-driving cars are involved in an accident will the passenger have rights against the transportation company?

A Telsa self-driving car was involved in a fatal crash in 2016 and Tesla declined to say whether the technology or driver were at fault in the accident. The crash occurred when a tractor-trailer made a left in front of the Tesla and it failed to apply the brakes.

The crash also brings uncertainty as to whether autonomous vehicles in general can make split-second, life-or-death driving decisions on the highway.