With all of the technology advances of the twenty-first century, jumping into a car, telling it where to go, then sitting back and enjoying the ride might seem like a soon-to-be reality; however, driverless cars remain a distant dream.
At the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, autonomous car expert for Honda, Yoichi Sugimoto, claimed it will be “at least 2030” before a car can completely operate on its own. And he should know, as Honda has been developing autonomous driver technology for over thirty years now.
Sugimoto said driverless car technology still faces many hurdles, such as technical issues, regulation issues, and public acceptance. Further, driverless cars face a plethora of inconsistent variables, such as weather conditions, pedestrians, cyclists, road debris, and even animals that can dart onto the road; and at this time, there is not enough computing power to process these variables in real-time to make safe and responsive decisions.
In addition, researchers are still developing night technology for driverless cars, which as of now do not have cameras with high enough resolutions to match the human eye. And, autonomous technology does not yet have predictive or preemptive capabilities, making random behaviors, such as running animals or playing children, extremely hazardous to navigate.
When asked about the rumored driverless cars from Apple and Google, Sugimoto stated, “We can’t say much about the other companies, (but) it’s very difficult.” He went on to say that the emergence of autonomous cars will most likely first appear in local zones with built-in sensors and digital maps.
Yet from a personal injury attorney’s point of view, driverless cars raise interesting ethical dilemmas: who will be responsible if things go wrong—man or machine? For now, according to police, the insurance agency, and car makers, the human “driver” is still responsible, regardless of automation technology.
It is difficult to predict, without knowing more about the specifics of how an imaginary future car crash involving driverless cars would occur, but the answer to that question will largely depend on what the Florida Legislature, and other state legislatures around the nation, do. To hold a driverless car manufacturer liable for an accident, an injured victim would likely have to contend with Florida’s product liability law, which is strikingly stacked in favor of shielding manufacturers from liability for injuries their products caused.
Regardless, the day of driverless cars is not yet here, and it won’t be anytime soon.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a car accident, the Law Offices of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd can help. As a highly qualified and Board Certified auto accident attorney, I will personally assess the merits of your case and come up with a strategy for your specific situation. Our firm has proudly represented thousands of clients throughout South Florida, and we have the skills and knowledge to successfully protect your rights. Do not wait to contact our offices, as many claims are time sensitive. Please call (866) 460 – 1990 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our four offices in Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, and Okeechobee.