Preparing for the Autonomous Car Revolution

Are we ready for fully autonomous cars?

Auto recall attorneys and others who deal with the business of vehicle safety and consumer protection have legitimate concerns over the movement from traditional diesel engines to self-driving or autonomous technology in cars.

The so-called “autonomous revolution” is no longer a futuristic concept those of a certain age might remember George Jetson enjoying—it’s here. There are already vehicles among us with the capability to at least partially self-drive, with a human driver behind the wheel.

According to experts, the next step—fully autonomous vehicles—is “inevitable”. In fact, General Motors is reportedly pushing for approval to include in its 2019 ride-sharing fleet a “fully autonomous car—one without a steering wheel or pedals”.

Numerous government, transportation, and law-enforcement agencies as well as advocacy groups are grappling with the need for comprehensive federal legislation governing the use and safety of fully autonomous vehicles. And nothing on the federal government level moves quickly.

Among the concerns to address are privacy and safety issues. Should the police be able to disable self-driving cars and should “robo taxi” accidents generate auto alerts—or do these two situations infringe on the privacy rights of the people in the vehicles?

One of the biggest concerns is preventing what is universally agreed as “the inevitable cyber security attacks” on self-driving vehicles. The same technology that would enable law enforcement to control or disable fully autonomous vehicles would enable terrorists to hack into them with likely catastrophic results.

Some potential benefits of fully autonomous vehicles include:

  • self-reporting crashes will improve emergency response time
  • disabled individuals, including blind people, could drive
  • highway traffic could be decreased if automated vehicles could travel 70 mph only 2 feet apart.

Sadly, there will inevitably be accidents and losses along the way as the technology continues to develop. A recent casualty went viral on social media when dashcam video of woman in Arizona walking her bicycle across the street was reportedly struck by a semi-autonomous vehicle whose human driver was allegedly not paying attention. It will be interesting to see how regulations regarding fully autonomous vehicles develop.

If you have any questions regarding lemon law, breach of warranty or dealer fraud, The Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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