If you are a fan of “Minority Report,” “I, Robot,” and “Total Recall,” you may be familiar with the self driving cars of the future. But these movies are make believe. In real life, only people can drive cars. But that notion is slowly changing. More models are being equipped park assist modules, automatic braking systems and modules that allow the vehicle to see and react to hazards before the driver does. So it appears that fantasy is becoming reality.
The next step in that progress comes with self-driving cars being tested on the open road. In prior posts, we have highlighted how automakers are testing self-driving cars in California and Nevada, and even a car was driven from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Showcase.
Now, automaker Audi is pushing the envelope even further. An SUV equipped with equipment provided by Delphi Corporation will be making a cross country trip where the car will essentially drive itself from San Francisco to New York. This will be the first time that a self-driving car will make such a long trip. An engineer will be with the car so that he could take over in the case of an emergency, but the car will do the driving.
It remains to be seen how quickly self-driving cars will appear on the road. Some estimates put them on the road by the end of the decade. But when they do, will the landscape of personal injury law change, since the car will ostensibly be safer than a driver? Only time will tell.