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Self Driving Cars – The End of Car Accidents?

Could car accidents be a thing of the past? Volvo certainly hopes so with the development of its new prototype cars. These “crash-proof” cars are filled with sensors and computers designed to make it impossible for the car to be steered into another object. These cars will have self driving capabilities, allowing the driver to other tasks such as working on a laptop, reading a book or having a nap whilst on the road – particularly useful during long journeys on the motorway. The new cars are installed with a whole range of systems to help avoid accidents, but these could also potentially cause their own range of problems.

Advertised by Volvo is the inclusion of a new “road train” system, where cars automatically drive in very close proximity to each other on an auto-pilot mode, with a human controlled leader at the front of the train. Designed to remove the human risk factor out of driving, the new cars run on an automated system that will allow the cars to drive almost bumper to bumper. However, I personally can see many issues with this system.

With so many automated systems on board, any one of them going wrong at any point could cause an accident. If the car fails to keep the correct distance or speed automatically, a crash is almost inevitable as the driver will most likely not be paying full attention and since the systems are designed to drive the cars closely together, the reaction time available would be almost non-existent. The image below shows a representation by the Daily Mail of the features for the new car.

The car itself may not drive into other obstacles, but that does not mean that it won’t be involved in any. There is no possible system that can stop another car from driving into you, or from children jumping out from between cars and being involved in accidents. Differences in braking distances due to mechanical wear and tear (condition of brakes, tyres, weather and so on) will also have a massive impact on the viability of having 100% auto pilot on roads. Although I believe it is entirely possible, it seems like there are a huge amount of variable to cover, and the points mentioned (distancing, staying in lane and awareness of other road users) only seem to be the tip of the iceberg. Accidents involving these self driving vehicles are almost certainly going to bring up a whole new range of legal cases, as new technologies like this will have a massive impact on our lives. If you have been involved in a car accident, contact AJR Solicitors today. AJR specialises in personal injury and accident claims, providing a bespoke service to each and every one of our clients.

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