Rough RoadAs I have written before, I regularly follow the news about the ongoing development of self-driving cars and related safety technology.

In today’s New York Times (actual paper copy), I read “The Unpredictable, Under Control,” by Andrew Sondern in the Business section. The article reports that the companies developing self-driving cars need to be able to test these cars in more “challenging” conditions in order to perfect how the cars perform. This is giving rise to the need for larger testing grounds, in which real driving conditions can be better simulated. Not surprisingly, at least a couple such facilities are under ongoing construction and expansion–the leading one in Michigan and another in California (like we couldn’t have guessed). Multiple companies are using these facilities, which leaves me wondering how they keep their developments confidential from each other.

In a related article, in the same section, “A Ball Bounced Into the Road, and Other Hazards,” author Neal Boudette summarizes five principle challenges facing driverless cars, and gives the basics on each:

  • Unpredictability of humans driving other cars (speeding, when driverless car would not).
  • Disappearance of visual indicators, like lines, in bad weather.
  • Changes in roadways that are not on their pre-programmed maps (like a washed out road).
  • Changes in the visual makeup of a roadway (i.e., is it a pothole, puddle, new asphalt, shadow?).
  • Discretionary decisions (Do you run over the kid in the roadway or swerve into the pole and hurt the occupants?).

These problems will not be solved at the same time, and some may take a very long time, but literally each day these companies get closer.  If you wish to speak about your own concerns more specifically, I do offer a free consultation. You can schedule that, or order my free Arizona Auto Injury Claims book, by calling 480-733-6800