On March 18, 2018, a self-driving UBER car killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The vehicle was part of an Uber pilot project to test its self-driving vehicle technology. The vehicle was manned with a “driver” who was supposed to observe the vehicle and serve as a “fail-safe.” However, video inside the vehicle showed that the driver was looking down at something just prior to the collision and seemed startled by the pedestrian. Exterior camera footage appeared to show the pedestrian emerging from the darkness. Reports following the collision stated that the pedestrian was not crossing in a marked intersection or crosswalk and was in the middle of the road.
In response to the collision, UBER ceased its self-driving project. However, one can only assume the self-driving vehicle project will not be halted for long. Currently, several industry giants are competing for supremacy in the self-driving vehicle technology arena. This includes, Tesla and Google’s self-driving vehicle company Waymo. Tesla is experiencing its own problems as crashes have been reported involving Tesla vehicles operating in its “auto-pilot” mode.
Supporters of self-driving vehicle technology claim that these vehicles are safer than human-driven vehicles as they eliminate human error and other factors that contribute to collisions. These factors include: impaired driving, distracted driving (texting/talking on phone), miscalculations, drowsy driving, speeding, health conditions (seizure/heart attacks), among other things.
Those who oppose self-driving vehicle technology argue that artificial intelligence will never replace the intuition and instincts of a human. For example, will artificial intelligence be able to anticipate and appreciate the threat of children who are playing with a ball on a sidewalk. Human operators can arguably register this information and adjust driving mannerisms to prepare for a dangerous condition such as a child darting out into the road.
What is certain, is that automated and self-driving technology is here to stay and is the future of transportation. The debate will continue, but it can be expected that the majority of vehicles on the road by 2030 will be self-driving. This raises concerns as to what safety measures will be taken in the future and the issues that will be created by those who are injured by this evolving technology.
Whether you were injured by a negligent driver or malfunctioning self-driving vehicle, the attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group are here to help you recover for your injury. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.