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Self-driving cars need further testing, development

Based on recent tests, New Jersey drivers who are curious about self-driving cars may be waiting a little longer to purchase one of their own. According to a study by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, driverless vehicles are involved in accidents two-times as often as cars driven by humans. However, the same study indicates that human drivers were at fault in all of those crashes. The accidents are mostly caused by drivers who are inattentive or behaving in an overly aggressive manner. The issue is that self-driving cars have difficulty making subtle judgment calls that humans are capable of.

For example, one driverless car performed well on a test until it attempted to merge on a highway and move across several lanes of traffic. The autonomous vehicle was unable to discern a break in the traffic, and the human driver had to take over.

The problem appears to be that self-driving cars are too law-abiding. In another instance, a driverless car was rear-ended while pulling slowly out into an intersection before making a right turn. The challenge before engineers now is to make the cars behave more like human drivers while still observing traffic laws. The state of California has proposed that all self-driving cars should have an override that allows a driver to take over.

Even after self-driving cars are perfected, human error will continue to cause accidents. People injured in motor vehicle accidents may suffer from traumatic brain injury or other life-altering conditions. Insurance may offer insufficient compensation to cover these costs. However, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the responsible party, whether it be a drunk driver or merely a negligent or distracted driver.

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