Google is making headlines — and history. The internet giant recently began test driving automated cars on congested city streets — a first for the company and U.S. engineers. Although Google’s self-driving cars have logged at least 700,000 miles on rural highways, the vehicles have markedly steered clear of streets with a high volume of cars, buses, and pedestrian traffic. That is all about to change. “Engineers have improved the cars’ software to recognize situations like pedestrian traffic, buses, stop signs held by crossing guards and hand signals made by cyclists,” CNN reports.
Are The Futuristic Cars Safe?
Google engineers say yes. What’s more, with some fine-tuning, the self-driving cars are actually likely to be safer than traditional models with a human at the wheel. “As it turns out, what looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer,” Google’s automated vehicle project director, Chris Urmson, wrote. “A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can’t — and it never gets tired or distracted.” Currently, self-driving vehicles are legal in Nevada, California, Michigan, and Florida.
There are some bugs to work out, however. Manufacturers and developers are working on the vehicles’ capabilities to turn right on red, merge into lanes, change lanes, and drive in extreme weather conditions. For that reason, the automated cars are unlikely to be available to the general public until 2017 at the earliest. Fox News suggests a more realistic estimate is 2025.
When Do Auto Accident Injury Attorneys Get Involved?
As of it stands, the automated vehicles have not caused any accidents or collisions. The only crashes involving self-driving cars were the fault of the other driver — or the automated vehicle was being driven by a human at that particular time.
Auto accident injury attorneys and law enforcement will investigate these crashes just like any others, however. There are some new things to keep in mind — like whether a human took over for a computer at the time of the crash. Other than that, investigations should remain more or less the same.
Google is making history, and, when the cars are released, you shouldn’t be afraid to be a part of it. Auto accident injury attorneys will assess cases involving automated vehicles carefully and fairly — just like they would with any other vehicle.