Troubling Concerns Autonomous Cars Will Bring to the Road

As autonomous vehicles inch closer to becoming a reality on our roads, with experts saying it is likely that 70% of new cars will have some degree of automation by 2040, it’s essential to consider the potential challenges and concerns that come with this technological advancement.

94% of car accidents are caused by human error. That said, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data show there were 392 crashes involving vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems in 2022. 

While self-driving cars promise increased safety, convenience, and efficiency, they also raise a number of troubling issues that must be addressed before widespread adoption can occur.

Liability and Insurance

According to Justin Watkins and Matthew Hoffmann, Las Vegas car accident lawyers at Battle Born Injury Lawyers, one of the most pressing concerns surrounding autonomous vehicles is the question of liability in the event of an accident. When a self-driving car is involved in a collision, who is held responsible? Is it the manufacturer, the software developer, or the owner of the vehicle? This ambiguity in liability could lead to complex legal battles and may require significant changes to current insurance models.

Moreover, if autonomous vehicles become the norm, the insurance industry will likely undergo a major transformation. With fewer accidents expected due to the elimination of human error, insurance premiums could decrease. However, the cost of repairing or replacing sophisticated autonomous vehicle components may drive up the cost of claims, offsetting any potential savings.

Cybersecurity Risks

As autonomous vehicles rely heavily on complex software systems and interconnectivity, they become vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Hackers could potentially gain control of a vehicle’s steering, braking, or acceleration systems, posing a severe threat to passenger safety and security. Additionally, the vast amount of personal data collected by these vehicles, such as location information and driving habits, could be compromised in a data breach, raising privacy concerns.

To mitigate these risks, robust cybersecurity measures must be implemented, and regular software updates will be necessary to address any vulnerabilities. However, ensuring the security of every autonomous vehicle on the road will be a daunting task, requiring collaboration between manufacturers, software developers, and government agencies.

Infrastructure and Urban Planning

The widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles will likely require significant changes to our current infrastructure and urban planning. Self-driving cars may necessitate dedicated lanes, smart traffic signals, and advanced road markings to operate efficiently. Cities may need to invest heavily in upgrading their transportation infrastructure to accommodate these new vehicles.

Ethical Dilemmas

Autonomous vehicles will inevitably face ethical dilemmas on the road, such as deciding between two potentially harmful outcomes in an unavoidable accident scenario. For example, should the car prioritize the safety of its passengers or that of pedestrians? These moral quandaries must be addressed by manufacturers, policymakers, and society as a whole to ensure that autonomous vehicles are programmed to make decisions that align with our collective values.

The vehicle may not always get it right. A Waymo car hit a cyclist this year, which definitely should not have happened.

There were 11,363 car accidents in Las Vegas in 2021, but accident injury lawyers still believe that self-driving cars are not necessarily the answer. 

As we move closer to a future with autonomous vehicles on our roads, it is essential to address these troubling concerns proactively. By doing so, we can work towards creating a transportation system that prioritizes safety, security, and equity for all users. 

Only through careful planning, collaboration, and public discourse can we hope to harness the full potential of autonomous vehicles while mitigating their associated risks.

Rylie Holt