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Rand report calls for more test-driving for autonomous cars

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2019 | Car Accidents |

Automakers are rushing to introduce self-driving cars, which is worrying many in Georgia and across the U.S. After all, these cars have caused fatal crashes in the past, including a March 2018 incident where an Uber vehicle in Arizona failed to detect a pedestrian and struck her. A report from the Rand Corporation contends that automakers are neglecting safety by not test-driving their vehicles enough.

Of all the companies that are developing autonomous vehicle technology, Waymo has test-driven its vehicles for the highest number of miles: 10 million miles in the real world and 7 billion miles on virtual roads using simulation technology. However, the report says even this amount is insufficient.

Existing fleets need to undergo millions or billions of miles of test-driving before they can be considered reliable and be safely integrated into traffic. The report says it may take decades or even centuries for this to happen.

Simply driving the vehicles will not improve them, of course; developers must test them for variables. One company, Nvidia, has created a simulation platform called Drive Constellation that developers can use to test thousands of scenarios in virtual reality. These scenarios take into account variables like weather, the angle of the sun, traffic flow, road conditions, pedestrian behaviors and the different types of traffic lights.

Car accidents that are caused by a malfunctioning self-driving car occupy a unique position in personal injury law, so victims may want to talk with a lawyer. They may be able to file for damages with the automaker, or they may file against the driver since drivers are still required to maintain control over their vehicle at all times. The lawyer may speak on victims’ behalf at the negotiation table or in the courtroom if a settlement cannot be reached.


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