Even though driverless cars are still in their infancy, there have been several high-profile crashes.
Even though driverless cars are still in their infancy, there have been several high-profile crashes. This year alone, the world has watched as a Tesla crashed into a barrier on a California highway and an Uber hit and killed a woman walking in Arizona. Some of these crashes have been attributed to driver error or software errors—or both. The fact is, driverless vehicles aren’t perfect yet. Accidents will happen with self-driving cars, just like they do with normal ones (even if the technology is improved).
The technology is advancing fast, but there have already been fatalities.
The technology’s in its infancy, but the fact that there have been two fatal accidents involving self-driving vehicles makes it clear that there will be more.
Many of us are still getting used to these new cars. The reality is that accidents are inevitable—and not just because the technology is still developing. People are unpredictable, and it’s impossible for a self-driving car to anticipate every action of a person on foot or behind the wheel of another vehicle.
But even though they’re inevitable, accident claims can be complicated if a self-driving vehicle is involved. There are some established facts about these accidents, both legal and technological.
There were two fatalities as a result of self-driving car crashes in 2018.
Two people died as a result of self-driving car crashes in 2018—both of whom were inside the vehicles at the time of the crash. In March, an Uber self-driving SUV hit and killed a woman who was crossing the street with her bike. Then in June, a man driving a Tesla Model X was killed when his vehicle crashed into the median on Highway 101. This was especially tragic because Elon Musk had previously said that Autopilot could have prevented this type of accident from happening.
Until 2018, there had been no fatalities associated with self-driving cars since their introduction in 2009 (even though there were several close calls). The cause for concern about driverless vehicles is justified by these numbers, but it’s actually pretty normal for new technologies to have growing pains like these. Just think about how unsafe cars must have looked to horse carriage passengers when they were first introduced more than 100 years ago!
The investigation into the fatal Uber crash revealed several problems with the software.
The investigation into the fatal Uber crash revealed several problems with the software. The system was not able to detect pedestrians crossing the road, jaywalkers, objects on the road and other vehicles. “The failure of Uber’s software to classify [Pedestrian Elaine Herzberg] as a pedestrian (a human) in time to brake or otherwise avoid hitting her is a failure of Uber’s software/hardware, not just its failure to anticipate that she would walk outside of a crosswalk in front of it,” said Bryant Walker Smith, an assistant professor at University of South Carolina School of Law who focuses on self-driving vehicle law and policy.
A key question for investigators is whether big tech companies like Google or Apple could avoid similar failures by releasing their own autonomous cars. “While all developers are struggling with how best to ensure safe operation in all foreseeable circumstances—including those involving human behavior—it seems quite likely that Alphabet/Waymo and Apple are better positioned than smaller companies like Zoox and Aurora (and certainly Uber) because they can spend more money on development and testing,” said Smith.
The first fatality from an autonomous vehicle happened in 2016.
The first death related to an autonomous vehicle occurred on May 7, 2016, in Williston, Florida. A Tesla Model S was traveling southbound when a tractor-trailer turned left across its path resulting in a collision. The Tesla driver was not paying attention at the time of the crash and passed away. The vehicle was operating in Autopilot mode.
Liability has not been definitively determined in most cases involving autonomous vehicles.
The liability remains murky when it comes to autonomous vehicles. There are some circumstances where the driver is liable, such as operating a self-driving vehicle in manual mode. But there are also cases where the manufacturer is liable for faulty design or programming. In other cases, no one is liable because the victim’s actions contributed to the accident.
What do you need to know? When it comes to determining who is at fault and whether or not any lawsuits will be filed, it all depends on the circumstances of the accident itself and how state traffic laws pertain to autonomous vehicles.
Uber’s self-driving vehicle did not recognize jaywalkers.
Want to know exactly where Uber went wrong? The car’s software was not set up to recognize jaywalkers. The self-driving vehicle, like all others, is only programmed to recognize cyclists and vehicles. For example, if a car were approaching an intersection, the autonomous vehicle would activate its collision avoidance system and apply emergency brakes. However, the same is not true for pedestrians or those who violate the law by crossing streets midblock or outside of a crosswalk.
In some instances, the use of the technology was prohibited by law or regulation.
In some instances, the use of the technology was prohibited by law or regulation. For example, one consumer had set a speed limit on their vehicle’s self-driving technology but did not realize that it was only a recommended speed and not an enforced restriction. The driver then began driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph before losing control and getting into an accident. In another instance, one manufacturer’s technology allowed the vehicle to drive an automatic path with minimal input from the driver if they wanted to “relax” while driving (presumably because they were tired), even though federal regulations required drivers to be alert and fully engaged when operating a motor vehicle.
The investigation into the Uber crash showed that the driver was watching TV at the time of the crash.
One of the most tragic autonomous vehicle crashes was the death of Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona. In fact, it was the first known pedestrian death involving an autonomous vehicle.
In March 2019, more than a year after the accident, Uber released a report showing exactly what happened on that fateful evening. The results were startling: The investigation found that the driver could have stopped the car if she had been paying attention and that she was distracted at the time of the crash.
The investigation also revealed that not only did Uber’s self-driving cars have a number of safety features (like automatic braking) disabled because they triggered too many false alarms during testing, but also that drivers were not adhering to company policy when operating said vehicles.
What does this mean for you? We know it can be tempting to check your phone messages or watch TV while you’re behind the wheel — especially when you think technology has your back — but there is no substitute for alertness and human judgment while driving.
Some companies have suspended testing of self-driving vehicles following crashes.
Some companies have suspended testing of self-driving vehicles following crashes. Uber, for example, suspended testing in Arizona and Pittsburgh in March 2018 after a fatal crash. The company resumed limited testing a few months later. Similarly, Tesla halted production of its Model 3 sedan in early April 2018 to investigate “bottlenecks” and make improvements to the company’s autopilot system in an attempt to improve the safety of its self-driving vehicles.
The companies that manufacture these vehicles have various reasons for temporarily suspending operations or otherwise halting their technology development programs. In some cases, they are investigating serious accidents or injuries that may be linked to their products. In others, they may be trying to eliminate bugs or address other issues with their technologies before rolling them out on public roads. Regardless of the reasons for these pauses, when companies return from them, they claim that their products are safer than ever before thanks to what they learned from previous events involving their technologies.
There hasn’t been a legal precedent set for liability claims against manufacturers of autonomous vehicles yet.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to who will be held liable in the event of an accident involving self-driving cars.
The legal system is still catching up with this new form of vehicle and driverless car accidents have not yet seen their day in court.
For now, liability claims against manufacturers of autonomous vehicles are likely to be treated much like traditional product liability cases, but the rules surrounding these claims can vary by jurisdiction. If you’ve been involved in a crash with an autonomous vehicle, it’s best to contact an experienced auto accident attorney right away so they can help you understand your rights and options.
Although there have been several deadly crashes involving self-driving vehicles, it’s still not clear who’s at fault legally when they happen.
Although there have been several deadly crashes involving self-driving vehicles, it’s still not clear who’s at fault legally when they happen.
In the past three years, there have been five high profile cases of self-driving accidents in which a driverless car struck either another vehicle or pedestrian. Here’s a quick overview:
- On March 18, 2018, an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona. The crash happened as the victim was crossing the street outside of an intersection marked by crosswalks (the pedestrian was also reportedly walking outside of a crosswalk). Uber has since decided to stop testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads. In March 2019, police in Tempe released more than 400 pages of documents relating to the investigation into the fatal accident that killed 49-year old Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a busy road.
SELF-DRIVING VEHICLE CRASH LAWSUITS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The development of self-driving vehicles over the past decade has been nothing short of a revolution, and it has affected almost every aspect of our lives. It’s all but impossible to go anywhere in your city or the country and not see an autonomous vehicle trundling past you with a car full of passengers. But in recent years, there have been a number of high-profile crashes involving self-driving vehicles and resulting deaths. This article will help you understand what’s been happening in the world of self-driving vehicle lawsuits so that you can make informed decisions as a consumer.
In 2011, the first known fatal crash involving an autonomous vehicle occurred when a Google Lexus RX450h hit a bus on El Camino Real in north Sunnyvale. The bus was stopped at the time, and no one else was injured. But this accident put other companies on notice that they might need to address some issues before going to market with their own autonomous vehicles.
In 2012, two more fatal crashes occurred involving autonomous vehicles from different companies. In May 2012, another Google Lexus RX450h hit an elderly woman crossing the street in Mountain View, which resulted in
Lawsuits against autonomous vehicles are on the rise. Curious about what’s going on with the latest development in self-driving car scandals? This article has got you covered.
The latest update from the autonomous vehicles scandal is a doozy.
In a new lawsuit, the family of a man who was killed by an autonomous vehicle claims that the manufacturer of the vehicle knew about a defect in their self-driving vehicles but failed to fix it. They claim that the company was negligent in failing to fix the defect, and they want the company to pay damages for what happened.
It’s clear that this particular incident wasn’t an accident. The man who was killed apparently had his hands on the steering wheel as he drove, and he repeatedly shouted at his car to stop before it hit another vehicle. Now his family is asking whether there’s such a thing as liability for self-driving cars.
This is a difficult question because nobody has ever sued an autonomous vehicle before, meaning there aren’t any precedents for this case. But the answer could be significant for car manufacturers, especially if other people with similar problems file lawsuits against car companies.
If you’ve been following the news, you’ll have seen that autonomous vehicle technology has been under the spotlight in recent years. The focus on this new tech has brought up a lot of questions: Is it safe? Will it really make our highways less dangerous?
As a lawyer, I’m just as fascinated by these questions as anyone else. But there’s another question that’s been nagging at me when I see these headlines: What happens if one of these cars crashes? Who is responsible?
Today, let’s dive into what we know about autonomous vehicles and what they mean for personal injury litigation—and how your rights are protected no matter what kind of car you drive.
Last week, a woman named Mary was walking down the street when she was struck by an autonomous vehicle. She and her lawyer, Thomas, are suing Uber for $1 million in damages.
Thomas is a new lawyer and doesn’t have much experience with this kind of case, so he’s looking to you—the mentors of the world—for some advice. He’s got questions about how to present the evidence and how to determine who is at fault for the accident.
You know that Mary has a concussion and some broken bones from the accident. The police report shows that there were no other cars on the road except for one behind the Uber car, which was out of range of the sensors at the time of impact, and so couldn’t be to blame for causing a distraction or otherwise interfering with the autonomous car’s “eyes” on the road. You also know that all of Uber’s technology is functioning as intended.
So whose fault is it?
The answer is: it depends.
The latest development in self-driving vehicles is really a scandal.
More and more people are driving autonomous cars, but these cars are still in their infancy.
The first company to take advantage of this trend was Google. They made the first self-driving car, which was the size of a go-kart.
The car was able to drive itself around town all by itself, and it even had a camera on it so you could see what it was seeing. The technology was very impressive and it showed that we were entering a new era of transportation.
But Google’s car also had some problems. It turned out that sometimes the car would crash into other cars or drive off the road and get stuck in traffic. This was embarrassing for Google, so they stopped making these cars.
Now other companies are trying to make this technology work, but they’re having some problems too. Tesla has been working on developing autonomous cars for years now and they’ve had some setbacks too. One problem with these cars is that they’re not very good at reading road signs or detecting traffic lights.
Another big problem is that they don’t know how to deal with pedestrians who don’t follow traffic laws or obey stop signs or red lights when crossing streets (this can lead
Self-driving vehicles have been around for a while now, but they’ve recently started popping up in the news again. That’s because engineers have had a hard time getting them to work properly. The biggest problem? They’re just as likely to cause crashes as human drivers, and when they do, it can be even more devastating.
In this post, we’ll walk you through what’s been happening with these autonomous vehicles and how it might affect your life and/or business.
What’s Going On With Self-Driving Vehicles?