Automobile manufacturers Tesla, Ford, Toyota, GM, BMW, Delphi, Volkswagen, and NuTonomy are all planning to have self-driving vehicles on the market within five years. While you may not run right out and purchase one of these robot cars, you’ll soon be sharing the road with them. In fact, Tesla has already put driverless vehicles out on the roadways. So, the question everyone is asking is just how safe are these vehicles?
Well, Tesla has had mixed results, having their autonomous cars involved in several accidents recently, including two that resulted in fatalities. A Florida driver was involved in a fatal crash in May of this year, when his Tesla hit a tractor-trailer that crossed its path. Company founder, Elon Musk, said that the vehicle’s radar didn’t help in this incidence because it “tunes out what looks like an overhead road sign to avoid false braking events.” The car went under the tractor’s trailer, which sheared off the Tesla’s windshield and roof, and kept driving. The car finally came to a stop when it hit a utility pole.
While Tesla’s driverless technology is improving, its autopilot feature still requires drivers to be alert and ready to take evasive action if the car doesn’t detect a hazard. Reports have surfaced that the driver who was killed in Florida was watching a “Harry Potter” movie on DVD when the accident occurred. An engineer from rival company, Volvo, has said that Tesla’s autopilot system “gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is.” In other words, the system handles most situations so smoothly that drivers are made to believe the car can handle any situation.
Consumer Watchdog, warns that these vehicles are being overhyped and there is not enough oversight, especially by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The group is concerned that the agency is taking a cheerleader role in promoting the new technology, rather than a watchdog role of carefully and critically assessing the safety of the technology. This is certainly not the first time a government office has sided with industry over consumer safety.
If you have been injured by faulty technology, you may be entitled to compensation in a civil suit. To get the settlement you deserve, call the Jacksonville product liability attorneys at Farah & Farah for a free consultation. Dial (855) 533-3555.