The concept of cars that drive themselves sounds like something from a science fiction movie. Given that there have been a couple of fatal accidents involving these cars, this vision of the future can be a scary one. Nonetheless, there are an increasing number of autonomous vehicles on the road. According to 1-800-Injured West Palm Beach, there may even soon be self-driving semi-trucks.
Uber Freight is a company dedicated to the exploration and execution of autonomous trucks on the road. Currently, the company envisions a system in which drivers of passenger cars and SUVs, truck drivers, and autonomous vehicles share the road. The company claims that it wants to ensure that autonomous trucks are safe before introducing them to the highways and byways of the United States.
How Autonomous Vehicles Work
An autonomous vehicle is able to sense its environment and operate without a person driving it. Currently, autonomous cars on the road have backup drivers, but someday they might not be necessary. Eventually, they will be able to travel on any road with no one at the wheel.
A combination of cameras and sensors make an autonomous car work. They work together to detect, record, and react to anything that might get in the car’s way. A radar sensor in this type of vehicle can tell where nearby vehicles and obstacles are located so that they will not crash. The cameras record traffic lights, road signs, and people walking by. Ultrasonic sensors are used to detect curbs and road markings.
The sensors use specialized software that operates the vehicle and reacts to anything on the road. The car should be able to drive by itself in any weather conditions. All the parts of an autonomous car work in concert to create a three-dimensional model of the road and traffic conditions.
There are different levels of automated cars. Level 1 requires the driver’s undivided attention. They must have their hands on the steering wheel and their foot on the gas pedal. A level 1 will simply warn the driver of dangers and road conditions. A level 6 car will not even require a person to have their hands on the wheel.
Engineers are still working out the kinks and testing the vehicles in limited situations. Most of the test vehicles are sedans such as taxi cabs. We are at least ten years from autonomous cars being common. For now, the vehicles are currently being used for short-distance deliveries. Currently, there are no fully autonomous semis. Given that the trucking industry is having a hard time finding drivers, the development of autonomous trucks is likely.
As with any new technology, there are certain to be design flaws with the first of these new vehicles. If a person were to be injured by an autonomous vehicle, the insurance of the owner of the vehicle should pay for the injuries. There are already companies that have policies specifically designed for self-driving cars.
Suppose a personal injury attorney determines that the accident was caused by a design or manufacturing flaw, they may bring a class action lawsuit against the company or companies responsible for the accident. A marketing firm may even be to blame if the instructions were confusing.
The Advantages of Autonomous Vehicles
Although there are plenty of safety concerns, people are certainly excited about the prospect of these amazing new vehicles. There are certain types of collisions an automated semi may be able to avoid. They can often stop faster than the average person would be able to react, and there is no chance of an automated car driving drunk.
Fatigue is a major cause of car crashes on highways, but you will never have to worry about an autonomous car being too tired to drive, and they will never be distracted by Instagram or Twitter.
If there are too few drivers to accommodate the ride-sharing needs of a certain community, automated vehicles will make it easier. Self-driving trucks will always be able to get products where they are going on time.
Only Time Will Tell
It is impossible to know when you may see autonomous trucks zipping around the streets of your city. If you are injured by an autonomous vehicle or see one driving erratically, be sure to contact the police. Reporting problems and filing insurance claims when necessary sends a strong message to the makers of self-driving vehicles. They should be tested and completely safe before they are allowed to drive in traffic.