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Self-driving auto accident prompts questions about reliability

As autonomous vehicles gain in popularity and notoriety across the United States, more people are starting to recognize the risks associated with this new form of technology. A recent auto accident involving an Uber self-driving vehicle has now raised more questions about these automatically piloted vehicles. The collision could have important implications for riders in Rhode Island and other nearby states.

Official reports show that the autonomous car crashed by flipping over onto its side after striking another vehicle in Phoenix during a test drive. The vehicle was transporting two test riders, not any "live" passengers. Still, combined with the car crash from Tesla's autonomous vehicle in May 2016, this new development raises additional questions abut car accident risks for those who are riding in self-driving cars.

In fact, there have been fatalities for vehicle riders who have been relying on self-driving transportation models. That crash in May was a fatal accident that occurred when the victim's car struck a tractor-trailer rig in Florida. The car failed to recognize the larger vehicle because of its white color against a brightly lit sky, and so neither the human driver nor the car applied the brakes. Google's autonomous car has also struck a bus in the past.

So, what conclusions can we draw with regards to autonomous driving technology? Certainly, it is not in a state that is ready for unregulated operation. The law must work to decide who is at fault in these vehicle accidents, raising new questions about liability and compensation for medical expenses. Victims who have been injured in self-driving vehicle accidents will have to adapt to a new legal paradigm as regulations shift to accommodate these technological advances.

Source: Tech Times, "Uber self-driving car flips to its side in Arizona crash: Should we still trust autonomous vehicles?," Des Luna, March 27, 2017

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