Google Driverless Cars Appear in Austin



Austin Personal Injury Lawyers

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers - Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 30, 2015 – Be on the lookout for a couple of driverless Lexus SUVs in Austin, Texas. Google has landed, bringing its newest technology to the second test location on its list.

According to the latest information provided by Google, the Lexus SUVs are on the ground and taking trips in a small area north and northeast of downtown Austin. A backup driver sits behind the wheel just in case.

“Personal injury lawyers have their reservations about driverless vehicles,” said Austin accident attorney, Brooks Schuelke of Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC. “There are too many things that can go wrong. Even the best computers can’t compete with the decision-making power of the human brain, and that’s what driverless cars seek to do.”

Driverless cars and their programming are also susceptible to unintended consequences. Google has provided accounts of a number of rear-end collisions their cars have sustained when the auto-programmed car pauses 1.5 seconds before proceeding into an intersection. “The human driver behind the car is not expecting the pause, causing it to run into the back of the smart-car,” Schuelke said.

Although it may be a good defensive driving technique to pause at intersections before proceeding, this practice often causes accidents due to the quick-footed driver behind the lead car. Rear-end collisions are common, and Google said “. . . It still amazes us how many times people have rear-ended us while we’ve been completely stopped at a stoplight for several seconds.”

These self-driving vehicles are a common sight in Mountain View, California, where human-piloted cars regularly see a driverless Toyota Prius or Lexus RX450h tooling around on an almost daily basis. It was time for Google to take its next-generation vehicle to another city to expose it to different roads, other challenges and different driving conditions.

Rather than reduce the number accidents that could happen, self-driving cars may instead create more accident possibilities. Unless all other vehicles on the road are driverless cars, the vehicles that are driven by people are still going to cause accidents due to human error, mechanical issues, speeding and so forth. “. . . Although we wish we could avoid all accidents, some will be unavoidable,” said Chris Urmson, Google’s director of the self-driving car program.

“Right now driverless vehicles only go about 25 miles per hour and the backup human driver can take control if they need to intervene. The biggest question is: What happens when the vehicles drive at normal speeds and there is no backup?” Schuelke said.
For the foreseeable future, personal injury attorneys that handle car accidents are going to remain the go-to solution for those involved in accidents.

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