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Self-Driving Cars In North Carolina

December 18, 2018

Car technology has evolved over the last few decades. From hybrid models to push-to-start cars, the automotive industry seems to be ever-growing. Most recently, the car industry has been trying to make its ultimate quantum leap by introducing fully-automated vehicles onto the market. However, the introduction of such novel technology brings a lot of concern among consumers. Are driverless cars dangerous? Who will respond in the event of an accident? Our Charlotte car accident lawyers at Dewey, Ramsay, & Hunt explain more about these critical questions.

How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?

Driverless vehicles are meant to be the future of transportation. Despite this potential reality, many people are unaware of how it all works. Self-driving cars have been engineered to perform every action generally done by a human driver. These futuristic concept cars employ different technologies that will eventually act as a driver’s brain, eyes, ears, hands, and feet.

To “see,” these unmanned vehicles use a camera system often mounted at the top of the car – that provides a 360º view at all times. They are commonly used to identify different elements like color, shapes, and the landscape around the vehicle.

To perceive their surroundings, driverless vehicles use a set of sophisticated sensors known as Light Detection and Ranging sensors or “LIDARs.” The LIDARs allow the self-driving car to determine whether pedestrians, objects, or other vehicles are close. LIDARs work by sending and receiving light pulses around them, allowing the sensors to detect the shape and position of any surrounding, nearby object.

The information rendered by the LIDAR and the cameras are sent to the car’s computing unit or “brain.” This supercomputer is in charge of decoding all data sent by the cameras LIDAR, and the car’s geolocation system or GPS. Once the information is decoded, the brain determines what the vehicle should do (e.g., stopping, accelerating, re-routing, etc.). Despite the advances in this automotive field, there have been growing concerns about self-driving cars’ safety and decision-making.

Why Are Driverless Vehicles Dangerous?

While this new technology seems exciting and promising, it still poses some dangers to users – and those in the vicinity of the vehicles – such as hacking and computer malfunctions.


As mentioned above, self-driving cars use a supercomputer that acts as the vehicle’s brain. This can bring up various concerns related to a driverless car’s susceptibility to hacking. If a hacker can decipher a self-driving car’s algorithm, he or she can take complete control over the vehicle. This can lead to devastating car accidents. Many people may be reluctant to trust a computer-based car, especially after recent computer breach incidents like Facebook’s data breach this year.

Computer Malfunction

If you own a computer, chances are you have experienced an unexpected shutdown, freeze, or malfunction. Dealing with such a problem can be a hassle, but can be solved without facing significant problems. However, things can be more difficult in a driving scenario. Imagine you are being transported by a self-driving vehicle at highway speeds when all of a sudden the car shuts down. Unless there is a failsafe mechanism or a safety feature that commands the vehicle to find a safe place, your safety would be in jeopardy. A car accident at high speeds can lead to catastrophic injuries such as brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.

Who is Liable in an Autonomous Vehicle Accident?

Autonomous vehicle developers are racing to see who will be the top self-driving company on the market. However, there has been little information pertaining to who will be liable in the event of an accident. As of today, there is little regulation in terms of how these cars should be built and tested to increase safety.

While many states have incorporated self-driving laws, they offer little information. State law regarding automated cars should provide a clear guideline governing the way self-driving companies should develop and test their vehicles. Instead, they only offer vague language which can be confusing for a self-driving car accident victim. A skilled lawyer can help you determine the best course of action after being involved in a fully-automated car crash.

Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys Offering Free Consultations

If you or a loved one were injured in a self-driving car accident, you need skilled legal representation at your side. Our skilled and knowledgeable Charlotte personal injury attorneys may be able to help. Don’t be intimidated by big tech companies and their strategies to pay you less than you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. At Dewey, Ramsay, & Hunt we know what it takes to hold the responsible party accountable for your losses. To know more about your case in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (704) 377-3737.

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