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Autonomous Vehicle Fatality: How Did The Car of The Future Fail?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2016 | Car Wreck Injury |


The future of automobiles is fast approaching, and what does this future hold? According to the big companies in the auto industry, and beyond, the future of your daily commute lies in autonomous cars. These vehicles will take driving duties away from humans, and automakers would have you believe that this will reduce traffic congestion and increase your safety on the open road, but a new crash has experts questioning the safety of these driverless cars.

Autonomous Vehicle Fatality

It was on May 7th, when a 40-year-old former Navy Seal was driving his Tesla Model S through Northwestern Florida. He was using the vehicle’s partial-autonomous driving mode, when a tractor-trailer made a left-hand turn in front of the Navy man’s vehicle. What happened next is still under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Florida Highway Patrol, but the carmaker-Tesla-has released information gathered from the vehicle.

Tesla Motors claims that the Model S, which was in autonomous mode, was unable to see the truck turning in front of it due to a brightly lit sky and the trailer’s white coloring. The vehicle subsequently did not apply brakes, and the driver of the car also did not respond to the turning truck. This resulted in the car crashing into the trailer section of the truck, which sheared the vehicle’s top off before it crashed into a light pole several hundred yards away. The 40-year-old former Navy Seal did not survive the crash.

Could Other Autonomous Vehicles Make The Same Mistake?

In the wake of this crash, experts all over the industry are trying to determine what this crash means for the development of driverless cars in the future. NHTSA was due to reveal new rules to help govern autonomous vehicle use on public roads very soon, but this crash could delay the release of those rules.

The attorneys here at the McArthur Law Firm have already brought you the story of the first crash attributed to autonomous cars, but how will the industry’s first fatality affect the progress of this new technology? Who will be responsible when something goes wrong? Will this new development delay the introduction of these vehicles onto our roads? Keep following our blog to stay up-to-date on the latest driverless car developments.