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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Harriman

Self Driving is Not Always Safe Driving

My wife and I share a car with autonomous driving features like lane-keep assist and automatic emergency braking. Sometimes these software features are lifesavers, sometimes they are infuriating. Last week, I was driving on a quiet residential street when the emergency braking engaged and abruptly slowed the car from 25 mph to 5 mph. There was nothing in the way so I have no idea what set off this autonomous feature. But no harm no foul and I got back up to speed and drove home. More concerningly is the lane-keep assist feature which automatically applies pressure to the steering wheel to keep the car in what the computer thinks is the lane. We live in Oakland and the city freeways have some rough spots where I find myself fighting with the lane-keep assist over what the actual lane is. If I was not paying better attention, this autonomous feature could have slammed us into the vehicle next to us and caused a major crash.

Self-driving technology is in its infancy and, like a child, it has a lot to learn. Unlike children, the federal and state governments have given this technology a license to operate on American roadways. Unfortunately – but not unexpectedly – fatal mistakes have occurred.

Tesla in self-driving mode hits child mannequin:

Uber in self-driving mode hits and kills pedestrian:

IIHS Autobrake Tests - Wins and Fails:

Harriman Law is currently working on cases where self-driving technology by Tesla Motors and Waymo (formerly Google’s self-driving car project) may have malfunctioned causing serious collisions. Our team of experts drills down into the data when evaluating self-driving car crashes. If you or your family have been injured because of a self-driving car malfunction, please give us a call.

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