Self-Driving Cars and the Future of American Transportation

Every year, manufacturers introduce new technology designed to reduce the risk of car accidents and increase the odds that the people involved in collisions will remain injury-free. But no matter what these manufacturers have introduced in the past, they have not been able to adequately address the primary cause of collisions: human error. Though national surveys continue to show that more than 80 percent of drivers consider themselves “better than average,” crashes continue to happen and claim nearly 33,000 lives each year.

Recently, several of world’s leading auto manufacturers and technology companies have taken steps to change the landscape of driving through the creation and planned introduction of autonomous vehicles. Typically called self-driving cars, self-navigating vehicles, or driverless cars, several prototypes are already being tested on public roadways with estimates of consumer availability in the next four to 10 years.

The buzz around autonomous vehicles has reached the mainstream media as 60 Minutes showed last night. The venerated news program reported on this new technology with an in-depth review of the current state of self-driving cars as well as interviews with engineers and executives in multiple companies behind the vehicles.

Experts predict that self-driving cars could save more than 2/3 of the lives currently lost each year to automobile collisions, though if all cars move to autonomous motion, it is believed that nearly no fatalities will occur in car crashes from that point forward.

The technology behind self-driving vehicles involves an intersection between the tech sector and the traditional automobile manufacturers, part of the reasons that tech giants like Google, Intel, and Apple are involved in the game as well as traditional car companies like General Motors, Audi, Ford, Nissan, and Mercedes Benz. At its core, autonomous transit involves syncing an in-vehicle GPS system with the car’s steering capabilities while adding exterior sensors to monitor things like traffic conditions, traffic light patterns, the presence or absence of pedestrians, and even shifting weather conditions.

At the present time, only four states in the country allow autonomous vehicles on public roadways: California, Nevada, Michigan, and Florida. All four states have either strong ties to automobile manufacturing and/or the technology fields and all have expressed an interest in addressing the number of collisions that take place annually within their borders.

As prototypes transition into functional vehicles for public use, questions will remain to be answered. Will those who drive in Chicago accept this new means of transit and purchase autonomous cars? Will Illinois laws allow these vehicles on public roadways, and if so, when?

Hopefully, the future will bring a new era where car accidents no longer claim American lives. But until that future arrives, collisions will continue to take place and many of them will cause injuries or even deaths to those involved.

If you were in a car accident in the Chicago area and you were hurt, make sure you understand your legal options, including whether you have a valid claim for relief. If you would like to speak with a personal injury attorney, know that the legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. will be standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) 529-242 or locally at (312) 924-7575.

We offer a free, no-obligation case consultation to victims when they call us and we fight for the best possible outcome in every case we handle. If an accident has affected your life, call us today and let us help you seek the relief you deserve.

Prior Blog Entry:

GM Agrees to Settle Shareholder Suit, Still Facing Hundreds of Claims Related to Faulty Ignition Switches, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published September 23, 2015.

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