Race is on for first ‘self-driving’ car

Published: 07/04/2014

We could see self-driving autonomous cars on UK roads within three years, according to manufacturer Tesla.

According to company’s CEO, intense work is underway to develop a ‘practical autopilot system for Model S’, its landmark electric car.

And Tesla is not alone; both Mercedes and Nissan are also making inroads in their autonomous car, with both aiming for a launch date in 2020.

Personal Injury Solicitor, Kevin Smith, contemplates the impact such technologies could have on road traffic accidents:

“We may be a little behind ‘Back to the Future’s’ predictions regarding technological development - I’m personally devastated hover boards are not our primary method of transport - but it’s quite clear self-drive cars will be part of our future and seemingly sooner rather than later.

Accident figures show that around 80% of accidents^ come down to human error or emotion such as driver impairment or distraction, travelling at speeds that are too fast for the conditions or failing to look properly.

“There is however little information about the safety risks of these highly advanced cars and the potential impact they could have on road traffic accidents although I understand there to be a potential threat from hackers taking control of vehicles! An introduction of driverless cars could mean we see a spike in accidents caused by vehicle defects, meaning roads are no safer than before.

“There’s also the question of liability if an accident did occur. Who would be responsible – the owner or the manufacturer. I guess time will tell!”

^Department for Transport Statistics

Content correct at time of publication

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