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New Tesla Autopilot Radar Technology Offers Promise for Crash Avoidance Systems

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Driver avoiding a car accident on Long Island.

Traffic safety experts have lauded radar based crash avoidance and auto-pilot systems as dramatic innovations in traffic safety.  Proponents of this technology emphasize that human error constitutes the most significant threat to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.  Substituting forms of self-driving technology for human attention, driving skills, and judgment can potentially eliminate car crashes caused by drunk and drug impaired motorists, distracted drivers, and inexperienced motorists.  Our New York car accident attorneys recognize that these benefits would be substantial given the toll inflicted in injuries and fatalities by the human error of drivers.  The NHTSA reports that 93 percent of motor vehicle crashes involve some form of human error.  Our New York personal injury lawyers took special note of a report that provides insight into the way this technology could make Florida roadways safer.

Preventing Crashes and Eliminating Human Error?

While most of the media attention on this new driving technology has focused on the elimination of human error, a recent incident suggests that this technology can also prevent auto crashes that are not directly a product of mistakes by drivers.  An incident involving the auto-pilot feature of a Tesla Model S demonstrates that anti-collision technology and auto-pilot driving systems might also be able to overcome limitations in human perception and reaction time.  The Tesla sounded an alarm warning of a potential collision from a vehicle the Tesla was following.  After sounding the alarm, the Tesla then applied the brakes and avoided being involved in the crash.

The especially promising aspect of this incident is that the auto-pilot system detected the crash even though the vehicle that suddenly applied its brakes was two cars ahead.  The Tesla driver would not have been able to see the car braking because it was obscured by the car in between that ultimately rear-ended the lead car.  Although the motorist’s eyes could not see the lead car, the incident seems to support claims by Tesla CEO Elon Muck regarding the newly released Version 8.0 Autopilot system.  Musk has indicated to media sources that the vehicle’s radar detection along with visual sensors now enable the system to “see” through vehicles traveling immediately in front of them.  In other words, the auto-pilot system detected a crash risk and took evasive measures when a driver saddled with the limits of human perception (e.g. vision) might not have been able to detect the crash until it was too late.  The technology predicted the crash before it occurred and prevented the Tesla from involvement in a multi-car pile up.

Despite this encouraging incident, auto collisions that cause catastrophic injury or wrongful death will continue to occur.  Vehicles without crash avoidance systems will continue to operate for many years, so human error will not go away anytime soon.  Further, accidents might still happen when these complicated electronic control and detection systems malfunction, or they are hacked.  Eventually, most personal injury lawsuits might be caused by product defects, but the best way to prevent accidents continues to be cautious drivers devoting their undivided attention to traffic safety.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

If you suffer serious injury or lose a loved one in an auto accident, you might have the right to file a lawsuit against a careless or distracted driver.  Contact an experienced New York auto accident attorney as soon as possible to have your case reviewed.  Be aware that there is a statute of limitations for filing a claim, so it is recommended you act quickly. Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today for a free consultation at 516-358-6900.

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