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Self-driving cars: Ready or not, here they come

Years ago, the idea of a car going from one destination to another without a driver was fantasy. In recent years, however, self-driving, or driverless cars have made great strides. Tesla, GM, Ford, BMV and Volvo are among the automakers that are testing self-driving cars. Google and ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have also made substantial investments in self-driving technology.

While self-driving vehicles are still in the prototype stage, mass-produced driverless cars are inching closer and closer to reality. In fact, the co-founder of Lyft predicted that all Lyft cars will be self-driving within five years.

Federal guidance could assist automakers

The federal government recently released a 15 point safety assessment as to what will be required to ensure motorist, passenger and pedestrian safety. In addition, automakers will have to present their self-driving technology to the government before presenting their vehicles for use on public roads. It is likely that automakers will be reluctant to part with their trade secrets. With that said, government involvement is likely the best means of creating safe roads.

What will a future with self-driving cars look like?

The biggest difference with self-driving cars, proponents say, will be fewer traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), driver error causes almost 95 percent of car crashes. With self-driving cars, driver error would be a thing of the past. There would still be car accidents, although they would be more likely to be caused by the condition of the roads and errors within the vehicle.

There is also the question of whether individuals would prefer self-driving cars over driving their own vehicle. According to a University of Michigan survey of more than 600 drivers across the United States, only 15 percent of drivers want completely self-driving automobiles.

Whether people want to rely on self-driving technology is an open question. For now, drivers will still operate motor vehicles. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, it is critical to have a skilled attorney on your side. For years, people across Bucks County and Montgomery County have relied on the lawyers of Friedman Schuman.

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