Fatal Tesla Crash Clouds Future of Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars are supposed to be the wave of the future, but the first fatal crash of a Tesla on auto-pilot is putting doubt on the futurists’ plans.

The crash report is horrific. According to the New York Times, the Tesla autonomous driving system failed to see a white tractor-trailer turning across the highway against a bright sunny background. No brakes were applied, and the Tesla collided with the underbelly of the trailer, killing the Tesla driver, Joshua Brown, a Navy veteran. Brown had been a Tesla booster and a tech admirer, who posted Tesla videos on YouTube.

Proponents of self-driving vehicles point out – correctly – that there are thousands of deaths each year involving “normal”
vehicles. The vast majority of these car accidents are caused by driver error and 1/3 of all accidents involve alcohol.

Statistically, self-driving advocates argue that self-driving cars are safer. Maybe that’s true, but there is something horrible about
a death caused by computer error, even if they are infrequent.

Dangers Associated with Car Computer Hacking

Another issue confronting self-driving cars is hacking. Recent tests on early models show vulnerability to outside hackers. In 2015, a group a tech hackers demonstrated how a Jeep Cherokee could be hacked using the vehicle’s connected
infotainment system by exploiting a zero-day software vulnerability.

When self-driving cars become mainstream, some owners may be tempted to hack their own systems, to improve performance, or get an edge on other robot-driven vehicles. Current law does not prevent a vehicle owner from reprograming a vehicle from nice to nasty. Perhaps self-driving vehicles will begin to take on the personalities of their owners.

Have You Been Injured? Call Our DC Injury Firm

If you have been the victim of personal injury caused by a self-driving or autonomous vehicle, as driver, passenger or
third-party, call the Washington DC personal injury law firm of Zukerberg & Halperin today. Put their 50+ years of injury law experience to work for you.

Call for your free consultation today!