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Autonomous cars may not solve roadway safety issues

Many experts in New York have raised hopes about the future presented by autonomous vehicle technologies. Self-driving cars could help to minimize traffic congestion and reduce or even eliminate dangerous car accidents. However, to date, the technologies have lagged behind the dream of the self-driving vehicle. In addition, once safe systems have been developed, serious testing will be necessary to determine that autonomous vehicles are truly safe for American roadways. If the cars are allowed to enter the market before safety testing is completed, the results could be disastrous.

Doubters about the technology raise questions about incidents that have taken place as part of testing programs or by using semi-autonomous technologies available on current vehicles. For example, in May 2016, the potential dangers of over-reliance on automation were highlighted when a Tesla driver lost his life after a collision with an articulated truck. Relying on the braking provided by Tesla's semi-autonomous system called Autopilot, the driver did not stop his car, and the system did not detect the truck on the road. At the same time, Tesla warns that its systems are only to be used to assist an active driver.

Another incident occurred in March 2018 when an Uber fully autonomous vehicle being tested in Arizona hit and killed a woman on the road. The self-driving technology did not spot the pedestrian. Uber paused its testing after the incident but restarted it once more on Pennsylvania's roads as of December 2018.

While doubts remain about the safety of autonomous vehicles, cars driven by humans continue to have serious car crashes on a regular basis, causing severe injuries and fatalities. Victims of someone else's negligent driving may want to work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages.

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