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The race for driverless truck and car technology

driverless car and truckDriverless vehicles are being tested on roads right now. The LA Times published that in a race to embrace driverless vehicles, Washington has cleared away regulatory hurdles for automakers and brushed aside consumer warnings about the risk of crashes and hacking. The NHTSA earlier this year published a voluntary policy on automated driving systems and said it is working on more policies. Basically, the industry is left to regulate itself.

Tesla’s new electric semi-truck unveiled

Last week Tesla introduced a fully electric semi-truck. The truck is equipped with Enhanced Autopilot, the second generation of Tesla’s semi-autonomous technology. It’s equipped with automatic braking, lane-keeping, and lane departure warnings.

Our Scranton truck accident lawyer is concerned that enough testing is done on autonomous semi-trucks before they are introduced onto public roadways. While the electric truck business is still in the early stages and won’t be prevalent for years, many other auto companies are also testing driverless truck and car technology.

GM introduces driverless cars

Driverless cars are also on the horizon. The nation’s largest automaker, GM, unveiled its driverless cars this week.  In an interview with the New York Times, G.M.’s president, Daniel Ammann, said their driverless cars would be ready for consumer applications in “quarters, not years.”

Driverless vehicles could generate billions of dollars of additional revenue for automakers. Pennsylvania auto accident firms do not believe there should be a rush to production before all safety testing and safety measures are implemented.

If adequately tested and properly regulated, driverless technology may help prevent car and truck accidents

In 2016, there were 37,461 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways, a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year. The majority of these crashes were caused by human error, and advocates of driverless vehicles believe driverless technology could help to eliminate human error and thereby save lives.

Tesla’s semi-truck can travel 500 miles between charges while hauling 80,000 pounds. At maximum weight, it can reach 60mph in just 20 seconds. Tesla plans to start production in 2019. While Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys agrees this driverless technology is very promising, the lack of regulation poses significant dangers. Autonomous truck technology is currently proceeding at a pace faster than regulators can keep up with the lack of regulation poses significant dangers. It is also unknown how driverless trucks will affect driving industries, which could lose hundreds of thousands of jobs to automation.

Tesla’s semi-truck also has the ability to drive in convoy mode. This means that a convoy of semis could take instructions from one main truck. This would allow for just one driver to drive three trucks. As far as charging, Tesla said that new mega chargers could power up the trucks in only 30 minutes.

While these are all positives, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys truck accident lawyers feel strongly that extensive testing is completed and regulations are in place before autonomous trucks hit the road.

Eight important driverless vehicle safety concerns and issues

  1. The cost of implementing driverless technology – The cost of autonomous vehicle technology may be too high for the average citizen.
  2. The educational aspect of autonomous vehicle technology – This technology would require the training of the vehicle owner/driver on safely operating the vehicle.
  3. Hacking of the driverless vehicle – Many fear, that just like other computer systems, a driverless vehicle can be hacked and used as a weapon.
  4. Failure of outside technology – If technology unrelated to the driverless vehicle fails, such as a stoplight, how will the vehicle react?
  5. Road hazards – How will a driverless truck or driverless car respond to various road hazards?
  6. Weather-related concerns – How will rain, snow, and ice interfere with sensors and cameras. Will driving be impacted?
  7. Driverless vehicle liability – Liability is another important issue that needs to be addressed. In the event of a truck accident or car accident involving a driverless vehicle, who is liable. As a personal injury law firm, we see the victims of tragic car and truck accidents every day. We see the devastation these accidents cause. What will happen in the event of an accident with an autonomous vehicle, who will be responsible?
  8. Proper regulation – Pennsylvania injury attorneys and others would like to know when driverless vehicles will be regulated?

All of these questions and issues must be addressed and policies put in place before driverless vehicles are allowed to hit the road. The prevention of car and truck accidents on Pennsylvania roads and the prevention of crash fatalities is our top concern. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys personal injury firm wants to see safety and proper regulation be a focus of lawmakers and the driverless technology industry.

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