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Self-driving cars not road-ready, says Rand Corporation report

Michigan drivers should know that the development of autonomous vehicles has been a bumpy one, even resulting in fatalities. In May 2016, the driver of a Tesla vehicle on Autopilot collided with a truck and died. In March 2018, a pedestrian in Arizona was fatally struck by a self-driving Uber vehicle, forcing Uber to shut down self-driving operations in that state. However, it has since restarted its testing program on public roads in the city of Pittsburgh.

A report from the Rand Corporation has found that automakers and the developers of autonomous vehicle tech are neglecting safety in their rush to introduce self-driving cars. It states that these vehicles must be tested for millions and even billions of miles before they can be deemed reliable in preventing crashes.

Of all the makers of autonomous vehicle tech, Waymo's vehicles have put in the most miles, having been tested for 10 million miles in the real world and 7 billion miles on virtual roads. However, the report says this is still insufficient. The testing must be rigorous and cover every variable. Nvidia has announced a simulation platform called Drive Constellation that may meet the standard set by Rand. It will allow developers to test the effect of variables like weather, road conditions, traffic flow and the angle of the sun.

Victims of car accidents may find out that the other vehicle was self-driving. This will complicate the way that liability is determined, which is why victims who intend to file a personal injury claim may want to consult with a lawyer. The victim may file a claim against the driver or against the automaker depending on the situation. In either case, a lawyer may be of assistance during negotiations. If successful, victims might be reimbursed for medical expenses and other losses.

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