Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

More hurdles ahead for autonomous vehicles

Some Michigan motorists may be eager to see autonomous vehicles become a reality. With almost 100 people on average lose their lives in traffic accidents around the country and human error as the cause of around 94 percent of those crashes, it is predicted that autonomous cars will be safer. One Morgan Stanley analyst said all vehicles would be fully autonomous within 20 years while Ford, Nissan, Toyota and other manufacturers predicted autonomous vehicles would be the market by the decade's end. However, the adoption of autonomous vehicles this may take longer than many industry experts have predicted.

Cost and consumer resistance are factors. Some truck drivers are against autonomous vehicles, and many drivers of all vehicles appreciate the perceived freedom of being in charge behind the wheel. Extensive mapping will also be necessary for these cars to operate. New regulations will need to be in place before autonomous vehicles can take the roads in any significant numbers.

Ethical and legal issues may be the biggest hurdles to overcome. One particularly difficult question is what a car should be programmed to do if it has to make a choose between hitting bystanders, hitting another vehicle or injuring its occupants. It is also unclear how liability will be assigned.

With the high rate of human error in car accidents, it is likely that if a person is injured, someone is at fault. The person or entity that it is at fault should be liable for any expenses incurred for medical care and vehicle repair, but the compensation from the insurance company is not always enough to cover these expenses. Furthermore, there may be additional expenses such as lost wages from work. A person injured in a motor vehicle accident may want to talk to an attorney about how to get sufficient compensation.

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