Self-driving vehicles are cars and trucks in which human drivers are never required to take control to safely operate the vehicle. Also called autonomous or driverless vehicles, they combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive the car or truck. And while it may seem like the technology literally driving these autonomous vehicles cars emerged overnight, the path to these autonomous vehicles has actually been long and winding.
In 1925, an American inventor auto-piloted a Model-T through the streets of Manhattan using radio controls. Decades later, another researcher demonstrated the possibilities of “computer-controlled cars,” which led to the creation of a very basic autonomous minivan in 1995 by two Carnegie Mellon researchers. Progress stalled for a while after some discouraging failures, but the 2000s, saw the emergence of self-parking systems with real-world implications for self-driving vehicles.
For the past 15-20 years, Google, General Motors, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and others have been working on autonomous features like self-steering, stay-in-lane technologies, accident avoidance, and more. While Tesla has been leading the pack with these innovations, the company’s Model S was sadly involved in the first autonomous car fatality while in auto-pilot model. The occupant died when the car failed to brake in time and hit an 18-wheeler in its path.
Self-driving Teslas and other vehicles have also been involved in additional serious auto accidents leading to fatalities, including a one in Connecticut this past December when the driver of a Tesla Model 3 in autopilot rear-ended two vehicles. The driver of the Tesla told the responding officer he was checking on his dog in the back seat when his car rear ended the vehicles. Drivers are supposed to be actively supervising their cars while on autopilot, but there’s a growing body of evidence that drivers using auto-pilot are less attentive.
Regardless of whether your vehicle is equipped with autopilot or even simply advanced safety features, it’s important to always remain cautious when on the road. Serious injuries can happen very quickly, and car accidents remain a leading cause of Maryland deaths.
If you’re injured in an accident on Maryland roads, our state laws allow you to bring a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. Evidence that a driver was distracted while behind the wheel can strengthen your case, making it more likely you’ll recover damages from those responsible.
When you are a loved one is involved in a car accident, hospital and related medical bills are only the beginning. Additional pain and suffering from lost wages and other expenses can be incredibly costly. The experienced professionals at The Law Offices of Arthur C. Crum are here to help you pursue compensation for those costs. To learn more or to schedule a free, no-risk consultation, call us today at 301-662-4088. There is no obligation when you call, and we do not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain compensation.