Autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving cars, have been hailed as the future of transportation. With the promise of increased safety, convenience, and efficiency, it’s easy to see why many people are excited about the potential of this technology. However, there are also some very real dangers associated with autonomous vehicles that need to be considered.
One of the biggest dangers of autonomous vehicles is the potential for software errors. While self-driving cars are programmed to follow strict safety protocols and avoid accidents, they still rely on software to make decisions. This means that there is always the possibility of a glitch or malfunction that could cause the car to make a mistake.
GM recalls autonomous Cruise vehicles after crash
Cruise, General Motors’ subsidiary for autonomous vehicles, has issued a voluntary recall for 300 of its driverless cars after a bus crash involving a Cruise autonomous vehicle and a San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority bus. The recall was initiated due to a software malfunction that happens in certain rare circumstances. The problematic aspect of the software was introduced with a software release that took place on January 12, 2023, and the software update was installed on all impacted vehicles on March 25th onward.
Cruise reported that the issue could inaccurately predict the movement of articulated vehicles in three specific situations leading to a potential crash. The voluntary recall was submitted as a precautionary measure and in the interest of transparency. Although there were no additional accidents resulting from the software issue, the company plans to expand its operations this year in other major cities like Austin, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. Cruise has been operating its driverless taxi in San Francisco since last year and has faced various investigations by the NHTSA after reported crashes.
A quick look at data from AV crashes and collisions
From July of 2021 through May 15 of 2022, there were nearly 400 crashes in the United States involving vehicles with partially automated driver-assist systems, as per NPR. While autonomous vehicles are convenient, the technology behind them is still relatively new. While AVs may be more useful and safe to use on long, straight highways, having them drive around in busy cities where people are plentiful and unpredictable, we cannot be sure that the technology will hold up to the many chaotic factors.
Are cities like Atlanta ready for AVs?
This question may be too late: AVs are already here in Atlanta – or at least, in Peachtree Corners. The suburb has “a fleet of four shuttles which will run on a three-mile route with seven stops connecting restaurants, shops, hotels and the city’s Innovation Center at Curiosity Lab.”
But this doesn’t mean cities like Atlanta are truly ready for all that comes with self-driving vehicles. There are many dangers associated with having these vehicles on the road, especially in major cities where streets are crowded with people, and stop-and-go traffic is constant.
Other than the common software issues, AVs also pose the risk of hacking. As self-driving cars become more sophisticated and connected, they become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers could potentially gain control of a self-driving car and cause it to crash or even use it as a weapon. While car manufacturers and cybersecurity experts are working to develop systems to prevent this kind of attack, there is always the risk that someone will find a way to bypass these safeguards.
There is also the danger of the so-called “trolley problem.” This refers to the ethical dilemma of programming a self-driving car to make decisions that could result in the loss of human life. For example, if a self-driving car is about to hit a pedestrian, should it swerve and potentially kill the car’s passengers, or should it continue on its path and hit the pedestrian? There is no easy answer to this question, and it raises serious ethical concerns about the role of autonomous vehicles in society.
Finally, there is the danger of complacency. As self-driving cars become more common, there is a risk that drivers will become too reliant on the technology and stop paying attention to the road. This could lead to accidents caused by driver error, rather than software or hardware malfunctions.
How can an Atlanta car accident attorney help me?
Identifying who is at fault in accidents involving autonomous vehicles can be a complex task. Is the person in the driver’s seat responsible? Was there a malfunction in the vehicle’s system or is it a design flaw? Our experienced auto accident lawyers in Atlanta have the skills to thoroughly investigate these incidents to determine all liable parties and ensure that they are held responsible for any injuries that may have occurred.
If you are injured by an autonomous vehicle (AV), whether you are the driver of the car, another driver or a pedestrian, you may be owed compensation from the company responsible for the faulty product. With the help of an Atlanta motor vehicle accident attorney, you can secure restitution for injuries, property damage, and medical bills accrued from the accident.
With the rise of autonomous vehicles, it is crucial that the technology is enhanced to ensure the safety of our roads. In the event that you have been in an accident involving a self-driving car, rely on the expertise of Harry Lowry Manton LLP’s car accident attorneys in Atlanta. Our highly skilled attorneys are dedicated to handling your autonomous vehicle injury case with excellence. Get in touch with us today by calling our Atlanta or Savannah office or filling out our contact form. Our initial consultations are free of charge.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.