Ride-Share Giant Uber is Testing a New Self-Driving Car

Posted on May 26, 2016

Uber is looking to shake up the way Americans commute — again. The ride-share giant recently announced it has made good on its promise to look into self-driving cars. On May 19, Uber posted images of its first test car hitting the streets in Pittsburgh, PA. Uber engineered the new autonomous vehicles at its Advanced Technologies Center (ACT), also headquartered in Pittsburgh.

Why did Uber get into the self-driving car race?

Uber joined other tech giants such as Tesla, Google, and Apple in the race to develop the first publically available self-driving car. Uber's blog post identified its motivation as a safety measure. According to the company’s data, 1.3 million people die in traffic accidents every year. The majority of these accidents, as many as 94 percent, involve human error.

Uber believes self-driving cars will help save millions of lives and help extend transportation options to more people. Safety continues to be a large concern with Uber, both inside and outside its vehicles.

Uber drivers have made the news several times in the last few years for reckless driving, assault, and even vehicular manslaughter. The move to self-driving cars may be Uber's attempt to reduce the risk of using human drivers who only go through basic background checks and brief training before taking on passengers.

It is important to note that while the car will be driving itself, the passenger will not be alone, in case something malfunctions. A trained driver will still be in the car “monitoring operations.”

Will self-driving cars prevent traffic accidents?

Uber reports it is constantly innovating and revising its driverless car systems to ensure people are safe inside and outside Uber cars. However, just like Google's self-driving car pilot programs, Uber autonomous cars have become a hot topic in regards to liability for crashes.

The public has speculated on the legal ramifications of driverless cars since the introduction of the concept. There is no definitive answer on how car insurance policies will tailor to driverless vehicles. There is also no legal standard set in place for dealing with liability for a self-driving car accident.

One theory says the company that programmed the car will be liable if the self-driving car causes an accident. It is likely that answering the question of liability will require an incident that brings about the first court ruling in a case of a self-driving car causing a serious accident.

Accidents Involving Self-Driving Cars Will Still Require Legal Help

No matter what the future of self-driving cars brings us, one thing will remain true: a personal injury attorney will be able to help you navigate the claims system. The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. helps Georgia residents file claims for injuries caused by negligent drivers.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation regarding your legal options after a serious accident: 404-474-0804.