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Self Driving Cars are Finally Getting Tested in Massachusetts watch man person people road traffic 655303 pxhereThe governor, Charlie Baker, signed an MOU in June 2018 that allows self-driving cars to be tested in 15 Massachusetts communities. The cities that are part of the agreement include:

  • Worcester
  • Winthrop
  • Weymouth
  • Somerville
  • Revere
  • Newton
  • Melrose
  • Medford
  • Malden
  • Chelsea
  • Cambridge
  • Brookline
  • Braintree
  • Boston and
  • Arlington

Since the beginning of 2017, NuTonomy began testing its fleet of five cars and they were given permission to expand to other parts of Boston in the next few weeks. As expected, there was a lot of criticism about the safety of self-driving cars. In response, the president of NuTonomy, Karl Lagnemma, said that all their self-driving cars will have an engineer and a backup driver during test rides.

He further assured that their cars are like human drivers in that the more they are exposed to challenging situations, the better and safer they become.

Massachusetts has a complicated road system and terrible weather. The self-driving cars will have a much greater opportunity to learn and improve given the conditions. Through the experiment, residents in Massachusetts will gain all the potential upsides such as quicker transportation options for people who don’t own or are able to afford a car, safer roads and economic growth.

Self-Driving Uber had Been Taken Off the Roads

In March of 2018, a pedestrian by the name of Elaine Herzberg was killed in Tempe, Arizona by a self-driving Uber. According to reports, the sensors in Uber’s software system detected Herzberg as she was crossing the street with her bicycle but chose to ignore her.

This brought to light the fact that one of the biggest challenges self-driving car software developers face is developing a software that’s able to tell the difference between illusory and real objects. The software should be able to identify objects such as cars, rocks, pedestrians, etc., and either swerve or stop to avoid them. Software bugs can cause the bug to identify objects where there are none.

Developers can tune the software to make it more cautious but this would make the driver slow and jerky and possibly avoid non-existent objects or objects that pose no threat. At the time the accident occurred, Uber had tuned the software to be less cautious to provide a smooth ride all the time. Unfortunately, the software failed to detect a real object and this led to the fatal accident.

Can You File a Car Accident Lawsuit against a Self-Driving Car?

We are more than excited about the introduction of self-driving cars here in Massachusetts. However, new technology brings about new problems which brings us to the question; who do you sue if you are involved in an accident with a self-driving car?

According to various reports surrounding the fatal accident involving the self-driving Uber, it’s alleged that the woman who was killed was jaywalking across the street. An investigation has been opened to find out exactly what happened but at this time, it’s difficult to determine exactly what happened without speculating.

Advocates of the self-driving cars emphasize on improving road safety so as to improve the future of these cars on the road. 94% of car accidents are caused by driver error and self-driving cars could improve that number significantly. Not only will they reduce the number of injuries and death while driving cars but they can also reduce instances of people driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

On March 2018, an order was issued that allowed self-driven cars to operate without a driver provided they met a minimal risk condition. This means that the car must achieve a reasonably safe state when it experiences failure in its systems.

The cars must also meet insurance requirements, comply with registration and meet applicable federal laws. It’s also necessary that the Departments of Transportation and Public Safety to support fully autonomous cars. This means the car has to operate at SAE level 4 standard; meaning the car has to be able to be taken over by a human if needed or they do not require a human being to operate them.

In any normal car accident, the insurer would be litigated for the accident. In the case of self-driving cars, the case might be considered a product liability case. However, there is still room for different interpretations of self-driving liability.

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Help You with Your Case

Cases involving self-driving cars may not be as straightforward as you expect. You need a lawyer who can help you determine who should be held responsible and what kind of compensation you are entitled to.