Fresh Concerns Over Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco
People have different opinions about self-driving vehicles. Some people say that this technology is not only completely safe but also an inevitable part of our future. Bill Gates recently took a ride in a self-driving vehicle in London before stating that the industry was at a “tipping point.” On the other hand, there are those who are much less enthusiastic about self-driving technology. These people say that automated vehicles are causing crashes and that this technology is not ready for our roads. Judging by the number of crashes in San Francisco involving self-driving cars, it is safe to say that concerns are well-warranted.
But what can you do if you have been injured in a crash involving self-driving technology? How can you pursue the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses, missed wages, and other damages?
General Motors Forced to Recall Hundreds of Self-Driving Vehicles
On April 10, it was reported that General Motors had been forced to recall hundreds of self-driving vehicles after a particularly notable crash in San Francisco. On March 23, a Cruise “Robotaxi” crashed into a municipal bus for unknown reasons. While no injuries were reported, and there was only modest damage, the incident highlighted concerns with self-driving technology. No one was inside the Robotaxi at the time of the crash.
The recall came about two weeks after the incident. Obviously, something about the investigation led GM to believe that hundreds of Robotaxis were defective in some way. A software patch has allegedly fixed the problem, but this incident has become yet another reason for people to distrust autonomous driving. The error in the Robotaxis caused them to “inaccurately predict the movement of ‘articulated vehicles.’” Essentially, this self-driving technology caused the Robotaxi to predict the movement of the municipal bus based on the front section. When the front section became obstructed, the Robotaxi continued to make its calculations based on the expected movement of the front section. But the bus was actually slowing down, and the vehicle apparently reacted too slowly to avoid a rear-end collision.
The report provides a fascinating glance into the inner workings of self-driving technology – as well as its obvious shortcomings. It is also an obvious admission of negligence, as the technology was (and perhaps still is) faulty. Note that GM has nothing to lose by admitting this, as the highest financial penalty involves paying for the damage to the bus. Remember that this damage was minimal. One has to wonder whether they would so readily admit the faultiness of their software if a human being had been injured or killed. As of right now, GM does not sell its self-driving technology to third parties – and the Robotaxi campaign is essentially an experiment for the car manufacturer.
Tesla Engineer Admits That Self-Driving Video Was Completely Staged
As car manufacturers race to bring their self-driving tech to the consumer market, concerns continue to arise. It seems that some manufacturers are so eager to sell their products that they are deceiving the general public in order to do so. Some are even misrepresenting the full capabilities of this technology. Back in January of 2023, a Tesla engineer admitted in a sworn statement that a promotional video released by the company had been completely staged.
This video showed off the apparent capabilities of the technology, including its ability to stop at a red light and accelerate at a green light. The engineer was forced to admit under oath that the car did not actually have the capability to differentiate between red and green lights at the time that the video was produced. The engineer was testifying in a lawsuit over a California crash involving a Tesla vehicle. The National Transportation Agency concluded back in 2020 that the crash was due to distractions and limitations caused by the autopilot technology.
The implication here is that Tesla was knowingly misleading the general public by creating marketing materials that overstated the software’s capabilities. How many people watched this video and made assumptions about the technology’s safety? How many people were aware that the video was staged? If they had known the video was staged, would this have changed their opinion about Tesla? Would they have still purchased a Tesla vehicle? These are only a few questions that have been raised in recent months.
Driverless Accidents are on the Rise in California
According to a recent NBC report, there have been almost 600 accidents involving driverless vehicles in San Francisco alone. The worst part is that many of these accidents were hit-and-runs. A total of 36 accidents were never reported by the human operators of these driverless vehicles. In at least one instance, a Cruise car hit a vehicle in an intersection and never stopped. Many of these crashes go unreported for the same reasons as usual: Drivers do not want to face consequences. However, driverless technology may add new elements. For example, some operators may be asleep or heavily intoxicated behind the wheel during these accidents. They may not even notice the impacts.
On April 3, one person lost their life, and three others were injured after a Tesla Model X crashed on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The crash caused a serious fire, killing one passenger and critically wounding three other occupants. The driver was reported to be fighting for his life in hospital, so he was unable to be interviewed. The question of whether or not the driver was relying on self-driving technology will undoubtedly be explored in the investigation.
It is worth mentioning that the Tesla Model X is one of the newer models. If this crash was indeed caused by some kind of malfunction, then it means that the same issues are occurring even in the newest iterations of Tesla vehicles. We should also remember that when it comes to the company’s self-driving tech, it is mostly a software issue rather than a hardware issue. This means that the underlying problems will continue to exist in the programming codes even as new models are released.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in San Francisco?
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in San Francisco, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. We are well aware of the safety concerns surrounding self-driving technology, and we can help you fight for your rights in a confident, effective manner. With the right legal representation, you can get hold of a settlement that reflects the true extent of your damages. These damages might include medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and more. Book your consultation today to get started with an action plan.