Pennsylvania residents who follow developments in the technology sector are likely aware that several carmakers have vowed to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market within the next few years. Recent fatal accidents involving a Tesla sedan with its Autopilot feature engaged and a self-driving SUV being tested by the ride-sharing company Uber have prompted some experts to speculate that the transition to autonomous motoring is happening too quickly. A recent report from the Rand Corporation seems to add weight to these arguments.
According to Rand researchers, carmakers and technology giants such as Alphabet Inc., which is Google’s parent company, are jeopardizing the safety of road users as they rush to produce the world’s first truly self-driving vehicle. The report could be particularly worrying to Pittsburgh residents as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently authorized Uber to resume autonomous testing in the city.
Proving that self-driving cars are safe enough to be sold to the public would require millions or even billions of miles of testing, according to Rand. However, the researchers admit that completing such rigorous testing would be a conundrum for autonomous vehicle developers as it would take several years. Virtual testing platforms such as Drive Constellation from Nvidia offer an alternative to taking developmental autonomous vehicles onto public roads, but their effectiveness has been questioned by experts.
While fully autonomous vehicles may still be a few years away, some cars on sale today already feature sophisticated self-driving systems. However, drivers need to stay alert and make sure their hands are on the wheel when these features are in use. When failing to abide by these protocols results in car accidents, experienced personal injury attorneys may initiate litigation against the motorists involved on behalf of road users who suffered injury, loss or damage due to their negligent behavior.
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