Self Driving Trucks and Cars Are on the Roads

November 22, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

No longer the stuff of science fiction, self-driving trucks are on the public highways and roads of North America. Anheuser-Busch announced last month that they shipped their first commercial beer shipment over a 200-kilometre route on the public roads of Colorado in a self driving truck.

The company announced that there was a fully trained driver on board who monitored the whole drive from the truck’s sleeping berth. They declined to say exactly when the shipment happened. Anheuser-Busch teamed up with self driving truck manufacturer Otto to make the trip happen.

Uber was recently in the news as they have acquired Otto earlier this year. This clearly indicates Uber’s push into the self-driving car and truck space where they see the future of their business. Otto hasn’t expended effort in building its own self-driving cars and trucks, but rather in retrofitting existing vehicles with the technology to make them self driving. News reports indicate that Uber itself has been looking for partnerships with car manufacturers like Volvo to achieve their goal of retrofitting cars with their proprietary technology.

Uber has also been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a massive global mapping project, recognizing that the self driving car dream can only be achieved with hyper accurate mapping data. They are also looking to reduce their reliance on Google for their data.

It is particularly interesting that these test drives are occurring without announcements, in suck secrecy. Clearly the companies are aware that while many people dream of not having to drive while in the car, there is a resistance to the technology being rolled out. Many of us simply don’t trust the algorithms to really take the driving over. The safety records to date of the Google self driving cars that have been on the roads in California for a few years is outstanding, with only a few accidents (and only one their fault) occurring. This is much safer than human driving records. However, many people will expect the machines to be perfect before they will accept them.

The profit margins involved in the self driving car business are reported to be enormous with trucking companies eyeing the savings of eliminating the drivers and their associated costs and driving restrictions from their bottom lines.

Many questions remain to be worked out including what legislative changes are required in a world where no one is driving the car? How will insurance settlements be made? How will value judgements be made by computers when they must decide whether to save the life of the car passengers, or the child dashing out onto the road. It’s an interesting time.

Posted under Car Accidents, Personal Injury

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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