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Google Computer-Driven Car Brings Motorist Safety Concerns into Question

By Kelly Balamuth on October 28, 2010

How comfortable would you be in a car without a driver? According to a recent news report, Internet search giant Google has been test driving seven computer-driven Toyota Prius cars up and down the California coast. The hands-free system of robot driving relies on video cameras, radar sensors, and laser range finders to operate the vehicle. Given the fact the vehicle is not human-controlled, the question as to whether or not an automated vehicle is ultimately safe is certainly brought into discussion.

According to Google, a human is capable of taking control of the robot-driven car in the event of a computer-related malfunction, but as of yet, no such malfunction has occurred. Thus far, the computer navigated car has been a success, having only been involved in one traffic incident, which occurred when the Google car was rear-ended by a human-driven car traveling behind it. In addition to the ready-to-assist human sitting in the “driver’s” seat during the test runs, software operators also sit in the front passenger seat to monitor the automated vehicle’s performance.

While Google claims that the robot-driven cars will cut down on the number of traffic accidents each year, one must also take into consideration the number of accidents that these cars can potentially cause. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motorists spend approximately 52 minutes on average commuting each day to and from work, so robot cars make perfect sense for freeing up extra time. However, if motorists choose to allow a self-driving cars to transport them, then they will be partaking in some other activity while being driven. Will the motorist really have enough time to react in the event of a software glitch of some kind? With our attention diverted away from the road, are we really safer than we would be otherwise?

While the robot-driven Google car is a good idea in theory, there are many potential risks involved when you take the safety of motorists into careful consideration. The experienced Northern California car accident attorneys at Balamuth Harrington, LLP represent individuals and families of those who have been injured in car accidents caused by another motorist’s negligence. If you’ve been involved in an accident, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today for more information by calling 888-254-1234 for a free consultation. Our skilled Northern California personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure that your rights as a car accident victim are protected.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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