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Some Robotics Experts Say that Self-Driving Car Should Have Avoided Accident

March 24, 2018

Expect New Developments in the Investigation that Might Change the Perception of Driverless Cars

Law enforcement in Tempe, AZ released on-board footage of the moments leading up to the deadly crash that killed a pedestrian who was struck while walking across a street with a bicycle. The police refused to release the precise moment the car impacted the pedestrian, saying that that the content is excessively graphic and disturbing to release to the public. Robotics experts have examined the video released to the public and concluded that the car should have detected something in the road and the sensors should have avoided a collision.

The Georgia car wreck attorneys from Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, want you to be aware of the dangers driverless cars present. Of course, you may not be able to identify a car in autonomous mode, but there is also the possibility of a car hurtling down a Georgia road with a person in the driver’s seat who may not be in control or even paying enough attention to the road to correct a mistake made by the car. When perfected, autonomous vehicles and electronic crash avoidance sensors should make the road much safer for us all. Until then, drivers might rely on a computer helping them to avoid a crash and have a false sense of security while behind the wheel.

The Atlanta auto accident lawyers with Montlick & Associates proudly boast their well-earned reputation in the Georgian legal community as zealous advocates for people who suffered injuries owning to the carelessness or recklessness of another. You can count on Montlick & Associates’ experience, knowledge, and dedication to help you recover financial compensation for your Georgia motor vehicle accident. With over 38 years of experience and over $1 billion* collected in damages for their clients, Montlick & Associates are the Georgia personal injury lawyers you can trust.

Where does responsibility for the fatal Uber crash lie?

Commenters have voiced various opinions assigning blame for the fatal Uber crash. Some say the pedestrian is at fault for walking across the street, in the dark, wearing dark clothes, and 100 yards or so in front of a cross walk. Other commentators differ. They say that the driverless Uber vehicle failed to operate properly under the circumstances, which lead to the untimely death of a 49-year-old woman.

At least one robotics expert believes that the computerized components that acts as the vehicles “eyes” did not work as they should have worked. The failings of the car show that driverless vehicles do not easily adapt to changing surroundings. The vehicle has a radar sensor to determine the proximity from objects. Also, the car has a LIDAR system which is a combination of radar and laser technologies that creates a 360-degree picture around the car. Additionally, a forward-facing camera tracks the road in front of the approaching vehicle and also tracks the sides of the car. The cameras record objects and then identify them based upon shape and color.

Some of these sensory mechanisms do not work well in adverse conditions. Night is not an adverse condition. If anything, darkness enhances the accuracy of Lidar and reduces the likelihood that the system will misinterpret what is there.

The Lidar system could have been confused by its surroundings. Some speculate that the system interpreted the woman as part of the bushes that lined the roadway. That theory has not been proven and it may be a long time before we learn precisely why the car which was traveling 5 miles per hour slower than the speed limit did not interpret the woman as a pedestrian and take the appropriate action.

The video release identified another potential problem. The inward-facing video camera depicts the driving monitor looking down to her right in the area of the center console. She is clearly distracted. If she was paying attention, as a person behind the wheel of a car should, then she might have been able to take evasive measures to avoid a crash. For now we must speculate about what might have happened if the woman was paying attention. Although the driverless Uber had several hundred feet to stop, it never did. One has to wonder whether a human operator would have stopped or avoided a collision altogether.

The question of liability with driverless cars is difficult to answer. The law has not evolved to answer these questions directly. But, this tragic occurrence raises several questions that legislators, judges, legal scholars, and lawyers must address. Only time will tell. There may be more than one party liable for an accident with injuries involving an autonomous vehicle.

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Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 38 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our car accident lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

*Dollars recovered are cumulative and not indicative of individual results


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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.