Although self-driving vehicles are not yet available to the general public, several companies around the world are developing and testing their own self-driving features, systems or vehicles, some of which are being tested on public roads. These developments in automobile technology could make some Ohio drivers wonder who would be held liable for a traffic accident that a self-driving vehicle caused.
Google is one of the companies that are developing and testing self-driving features and vehicles, and its Google Car is already on Silicon Valley roads. The Internet search giant says that 94 percent of traffic accidents are the result of human error, so it is only logical that it remove human error from driving. However, the converse of this statistic would be that 6 percent of crashes do not involve human error, raising concerns about who would be responsible for an auto crash in which the driver has no control over the vehicle.
Representatives from both Google and Mercedes-Benz have said that their companies will accept responsibility in situations where their self-driving features or vehicles are the cause of accidents. The president and CEO of Volvo, which is preparing its Drive Me project for a 2017 launch, has said that his company will do the same.
So far, self-driving test vehicles have not performed well in rain or snow, and they have trouble interpreting hand signals and gestures from other drivers and pedestrians. This means that there is still a large margin for error. With companies working quickly to be the first to launch a self-driving vehicle to the general public, the first system will likely be less than perfect. Due to this, it is reassuring that the self-driving vehicle makers plan to take responsibility.
The law in most cases already makes auto manufacturers responsible for injuries caused by defective vehicles. As the autonomous driving technology becomes more widespread, personal injury attorneys will likely be asked by their clients who have been in accidents involving a self-driving car to attempt to pinpoint liability.