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Cars – No Driver Required…

Would driverless cars reduce the number of car accidents on Connecticut roads?  Probably.  At least that’s the hope of transportation planners.  It is a fact, confirmed by research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that more than 90 percent of car accidents involve human error.

So how would all of this work?   And can you imagine giving up control of your vehicle to a robot??

It seems virtually a certainty that the day will come when vehicles operate under the nearly full control of on-board computers that communicate with the environment around them as well as other vehicles.  In fact, at this very moment, car and technology companies around the world (yes – even Google) are racing to be the first to develop just such a “safe”, driverless car.

The first such systems in development and/or available now are actually precursors to full driverless options.  These early systems control steering, braking, and accelerating but require drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.   More advanced driverless cars in the future will utilize sophisticated on-board computers employing lasers, radar, magnets, cameras, GPS, and advanced radio technology to pilot the car while allowing all passengers to work, text or just relax and enjoy the ride.

It is also predicted that coordinated driverless cars will allow vehicles to travel in clusters, reducing drag and improving gas mileage (up to 20%) while allowing four times the number of vehicles to travel simultaneously on a given stretch of road.

So… will it really be possible to develop and deploy this technology anytime soon?

Some technology writers are suggesting fully driverless cars will begin populating roads in the next 10 years.  Others are suggesting a much longer timeframe.  Given the cost (some of the lasers alone that are currently being tested cost $80,000 per unit), the complexity of the idea (computer science and artificial intelligence aspects) and the absolute requirement that it be flawless – the longer timeframe seems realistic.

Interestingly – there are some tantalizing hints as to what driverless cars might mean in terms of reducing car accidents.  Data published in 2012, by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, seems to show that partly autonomous features (systems that control steering, braking, and accelerating) are already helping to significantly reduce the number of car crashes on U.S. roads.

If you are ever in a car accident, know that the Connecticut car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting drivers injured in these kinds of accidents for almost 60 years.  And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area.  If you need our help and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut car accident lawyers, please contact us.   There is no obligation.   And – there is no fee or other costs unless we are successful on your behalf.

 

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