New Jersey residents may be aware that several technology and automotive companies are working to develop a self-driving car. Four states have passed laws allowing autonomous vehicles to be tested on their roads, and companies like Google, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are involved in a race to put the first self-driving car on sale. However, some observers are worried that the desire to be first to market could lead to short cuts being taken and less than perfect technology finding its way into the final product.
There are also questions about how liability will be treated in accident cases involving autonomous vehicles. Motorists are sometimes forced to make difficult decisions, and questions have been asked about how self-driving cars would choose between striking a pedestrian and colliding with an oncoming vehicle.
Manufacturers working in this area are understandably bullish about the capabilities of their products, and Volvo is the latest of them to pledge that it will accept liability if one of its autonomous vehicles causes a car accident. Google and Mercedes-Benz have already made similar statements. Automobile and technology companies stress that more testing is needed to overcome nagging poor weather issues, and they have called upon lawmakers around the country to allow self-driving cars to be tested on their roads.
Personal injury attorneys will likely have a lot of information at their disposal when investigating an accident involving a self-driving car. These vehicles have numerous sensors monitoring various vehicle functions as well as the movements of other vehicles, and the data recorded could answer many questions concerning the sequence of events leading up to a crash. Witness statements and police reports can sometimes be misleading or vague, but digital information captured by security cameras or recorded by vehicle black boxes can be relied upon to provide an impartial account of events.