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Will self-driving cars make personal injury claims obsolete?

Imagine getting from point A to point B without worrying that an inattentive driver is more interested in Facebook than paying attention to the road. Imagine driving home after a late night without a single drunk driver on the road. This could become the reality once self-driving automobiles are commonplace in the world. It could make our nation's roads substantially safer.

Toyota recently announced its latest steps forward regarding self-driven automobiles. This makes a world with self-driven cars feel even more likely. Toyota will show off its newest autonomous vehicle technology at the CES technology show in Las Vegas in the coming week.

Created by Toyota's Silicon Valley-based Toyota Research Institute, the self-driving system was integrated into a Lexus LS 600hL vehicle. The technology boasts a LIDAR sensory system that tracks a 360-degree perimeter around the vehicle. The system can detect objects, people, obstacles and other cars around the vehicle even when it's dark. The system can also pick up signs of small debris and small children in the vicinity of the car.

Another feature of Toyota's concept is the attractiveness of the design. Some autonomous cars are equipped with an awkward spinning bucket on top that functions as a sensor, but Toyota's self-driving Lexus has its LIDAR sensors sleekly incorporated into the overall design of the vehicle.

The potential for self-driving vehicles is amazing in terms of overall safety. Manufacturers may create the car of the future that can navigate traffic better than a human driver. If that happens, we may see the end of problems related to speeding drivers, drunk drivers, distracted drivers and negligent drivers.

One would hope that this could mean the end of personal injury claims. However, it's likely that car accidents and issues relating to negligence will continue, even after the perfection of self-driving tech. The question then becomes who is liable for an auto accident that involves two self-driving cars?

Source: PC Magazine, "Toyota to Show Off Autonomous Car Gains at CES," Angela Moscaritolo, Jan. 04, 2018

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