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Apple Obtains Permit to Test Self-Drive Autos in California

Apple has been granted a permit to conduct test-runs on self-drive vehicles, which means it’s competing with Google, amongst others. The iPhone producer hasn’t yet said when or how this is going to take place.

The tech. giant, which has its headquarters in California, will be focusing on the software systems, while leaving the car manufacturing to partnered companies.

Most key auto manufacturers are currently focusing on the development of autonomous vehicles as they see them as being the future of the automobile industry, along with the electric car. Roll-out is expected to commence in about 2020.

General Motors also recently announced its $14 million investment in autonomous vehicles in its new San Francisco research facility. Similar research efforts are being conducted by Toyota, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan, and by Uber and the Google parent, which is called Alphabet. Baidu, the Chinese tech giant, is currently working on its autonomous driving efforts at its research center in California. So, all in all, there is a lot coming our way on the driverless car initiatives.

Accident risks for self-driving vehicles

There are several levels of autonomy when it comes to these types of vehicles. The first is “Level 3” which basically does require a certain amount of driver control, especially if it appears an accident is imminent. At this stage, this appears rather doubtful when it comes to accident prevention. Level 5 goes a step further towards true autonomy and no driver interaction is necessary at all at any time.

If the Level 3 vehicles are set loose on San Diego’s highways and an accident alert has been sounded the co-driver will only have as little as 10 seconds’ notice to act. If the auto is basically autonomous this 10 second notice might not be enough as the driver may not be paying sufficient attention to react so quickly.

Test runs of semi-autonomous vehicles so far have discovered that engineers involved in the test runs have either dropped off to sleep or have been distracted. Whistles, bells and even vibrations were used to alert the co-driver to no avail. This means in a possible motor vehicle accident situation when the driver is required to avert a collision s/he can’t be alerted on time to act.

Recently, co-director of the Decision Making Under Uncertainty Rand Center, Nidhi Kalra, testified in front of Congress suggesting that crashes in level 3 vehicles could be a problem, but that doesn’t mean at this stage they should prohibited.

Who is legally liable in a semi-autonomous auto accident?

At this stage, even though evidence suggests there are some safety issues with the control of semi autonomous cars, auto manufacturers haven’t gone so far yet to hand the controls over completely to computerized technology. It doesn’t take much to work out why and that is who would be held responsible for damages if an accident was to take place? In the situation of a semi-autonomous vehicle, the co-drivers are required to concentrate at all times, even if they are not in full control of the vehicle, so if an accident was to happen they would be liable for damages.

Who’s responsible for an accident of a driverless vehicle?

As soon as fully autonomous vehicles hit the San Diego highways, a decision will have to be made as to who takes the blame and pays for damage and injuries if an accident takes place. Once the vehicle is out on the road and there is no driver who can take control at any time, the liability for damages may lay fair and square with the vehicle’s designer and manufacturer and may well full under product liability law.

San Diego attorneys watching self-driving cars carefully

As with any type of accidents there is always someone or something to blame if an accident takes place. Once the perpetrator has been found any victims of the accident will be asking for personal injury compensation from that person. As far as San Diego personal injury lawyer Robert Hamparyan is concerned, he fights hard to ensure the victim is fully compensated for the financial burden of injuries that were not the victim’s fault.

If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, call the Hamparyan Injury Lawyers for a free consultation and an assessment for eligibility to file a personal injury compensation claim.


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