The exact date of availability of driverless vehicles for the general public isn’t yet known but it is going to be real soon. Carnegie Mellon University created the first true driverless vehicle in 1980. When we tell you that when the driver stands up; while the vehicle is moving; to collect tickets, it is an awesome experience we’re not exaggerating. Driver less vehicles have improved greatly over the past 10 years. By 2008 the advancement in driverless vehicles has come to a point where Volkswagen’s Pasat was able to stop after recognizing a stop sign on its own. Google has developed an entire team of driverless vehicles which has traveled 140,000 miles on the roads of California. It drove along other cars and obeyed all the rules of traffic including traffic signals. Google and Volkswagen are not the only automotive companies thinking about the future of self-driving vehicles. In 1980, Mercedes-Benz introduced hand gestures and eye controlled features in its car. At AUTOBAHN; BMW self-drove into the show and Prius A.V.O.S, a remotely controlled vehicle, was introduced in an automotive show in Tokyo. Automotive owners think that due to advancements in technology driverless vehicles are surely going to be available in the very near future. Google said that the cars will be available to customers by 2017 and Tesla’s Elon Musk will be introducing its product by 2019. Mercedes-Benz and all other big automotive companies plan to put out their product by 2020. Jaguar plans on stepping in the market by 2024 and Ford has set the target for 2025. If the automobile manufacturers (and Google) stick to this timeline then the future of driving is certainly going to be interesting.
Every year in the world 1.2 million people die due to road accidents. In the US 40% of the deaths involved alcohol. Since driverless cars don’t involve a driver and are computer operated driving under the influence could potentially become a thing of the past. A future that involves the elimination of drinking and driving related accidents would be a bright one. The increase in speed is going to come with an increase in safety. On average Americans spend 52 minutes in traffic each day. With driverless cars the need for traffic lights and other traffic control signs may become a thing of the past. The driverless cars will be able to coordinate with other cars on the road and will be able to move at faster pace as compared to normal cars. A better or efficient driving style will cause less emissions in the atmosphere which will not only improve the human lives but will also increase the life of our planet. In disaster relief situations, hurricanes, fires, tsunamis, an army of autonomous vehicles could be ready for rescue missions. There is no doubt that people are going to enjoy this upcoming technology.
The dilemma that will soon arise (it already has come up once or twice) is liability in the event of an accident, especially when injuries are involved. Seasoned trial attorneys will surely be the first to take on the challenge of determining who is liable in a driverless car accident. Experience in unique cases and in the court room will play a big role in shaping the future of liability for driverless cars. At Action Law Group we do believe the future is bright, but not without its challenges.