Self-driving cars may be coming to Connecticut very soon. However, before they are ready for a national rollout, they must first pass stringent safety tests and prove that they are ready to be on the road. Google’s autonomous vehicles have logged more than a million miles of driving, and the experiment has been overwhelmingly positive. Although self-driving cars certainly hold the potential to be many times safer than any human driver, they are still occasional participants in minor accidents.
A recent car crash between a city bus and a Google self-driving car illustrates the nature of these incidents. The car was driving under its own control on a city street with a test driver inside. As it approached an obstruction near a storm drain on the right side of the road, the car moved within its own lane and encountered a city bus that had been attempting to pass it on its left.
Although the car was going less than 2 miles an hour at the time of the incident, the company did not deny that it was in motion. Therefore, the vehicle and its programming shared some legal responsibility for what occurred.
Some autonomous vehicle manufacturers have stated that they would accept responsibility for accidents caused by their vehicles. While this is the first such incident where Google acknowledged that its technology was partially to blame, there may very well be future car crashes involving autonomous vehicles where people are injured. When that day comes, personal injury attorneys will attempt to determine who should be named as defendants in lawsuits seeking compensation for the losses that the victims have incurred.
Source: CNN Money, “Google’s Self-Driving Car at Fault in Accident”, Chris Isidore, Feb. 29, 2016