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Safety potential of autonomous vehicles not coming soon

Pennsylvania motorists who are thinking about getting a new car might be intrigued by autonomous vehicles, but doubts remain about when they could be widely available on the market. Giant companies like General Motors, Google and Qualcomm have been investing billions in autonomous vehicle technology, but many barriers stand against the mainstream adoption of computer-driven cars.

Before they can be on the roads in large numbers, federal and state governments will need to adopt new regulations. Liability after an accident presents a complicated legal issue. Manufacturers will also need to answer questions about how to program the driving software to make difficult decisions like choosing between striking a pedestrian or preserving the safety of passengers.

Consumer tastes also play a role. People have expressed interest in the technology but still want to take control of the vehicle at will. Surveys also indicate low willingness to pay extra for a self-driving car. The potential of autonomous vehicles to reduce accidents and injuries remains attractive. Nationwide, close to 100 people die every day in car crashes. Human error overwhelmingly contributes to these fatal wrecks. Software will not drink or text while driving either.

As things stand now, a person injured in a crash caused by a driver who has been distracted, speeding, impaired by alcohol or negligent in some other fashion may need extensive medical care and treatment. An attorney can often be of assistance to an injured victim in seeking compensation for those medical expenses as well as for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other applicable amounts.

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