Uber Driverless Car Accident- 3 Things We Can Learn

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: March 30, 2017

Uber Driverless Car Accident- 3 Things We Can Learn

Self-driving cars have been in the news the last two weeks because an Uber self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona was involved in a car accident.  In response to that accident, Uber temporarily suspended its entire autonomous vehicle program until the investigation into the accident had been completed.  The investigation revealed that the accident was caused by a human-driven vehicle that was making a left turn and failed to yield to the Uber vehicle.

As a personal injury lawyer who has represented thousands of clients injured in car accidents, this event got me thinking about driverless vehicles and the things that the general public may not be aware of.

Below are three things that you need to know about driverless vehicles!

  1. Allison Kealy, who is an Associate Professor at the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne, says that driverless vehicle technology is here now. She says that the primary limitation is that it is extremely expensive to make driverless vehicles safe.  Therefore, one current obstacle to a world composed of driverless vehicles is the current inability to manufacture true driverless vehicles at price point that is affordable to most consumers.  The current Google driverless car needs over $200,000 in equipment to be able to drive.  It uses a Velodyne 64-beam laser to create a 3D map of the vehicle’s surrounding environment, which is a must in order for the vehicle to be able to drive autonomously.
  2. The driverless car design that manufacturers seem to have in mind is a car without a steering wheel or pedals. After all, it is a car that doesn’t need a driver.  As we saw last week with the Uber crash, a driverless car is unlikely to be able to avoid an accident with a car driven by human who makes a mistake.  So what if a little girl runs into the path of the driverless vehicle and the technology has to decide between hitting and killing the little girl or running into a brick wall and potentially killing the passengers in the car?  A human driver would make a decision.  Are we as a society ready to accept the decision in this scenario being made by the manufacturer who programs it into the car’s computer before you ever set foot in the vehicle?
  3. Driverless cars will initially make congestion worse. Simulations have shown that, until most vehicles on the road are driverless, driverless vehicles will create bigger traffic jams than we currently have. But as driverless vehicles become the majority, experts believe the consumer will eventually have an improved commute.

Zanes Law has both Phoenix personal injury lawyers and Phoenix car accident lawyers who have represented thousands of clients over the past fourteen years.  Zanes Law has offices in both Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona.  So if you have been injured in any way, please call us and we will do our best to help you just like we helped our many clients who have left us 5-Star Google reviews.


Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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