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Can self-driving cars ever truly be safe?

This week the Obama administration issued guidelines for automakers that are wading into the world of self-driving cars. While not prescribing technological limitations, the guidelines emphasize the essential importance of safety. 

In the still-early stages of the technology, however, there are still clear challenges to achieving such safety. In short, there are a number of things that self-driving cars cannot do: most notably, react well to surprises or make quick ethical decisions

Drivers in snowy northern regions may also want to hold off on taking a ride in a driverless car. When roads are covered in snow or ice, driverless cars currently lose their moorings because they can't detect the center line. Driverless cars also have trouble navigating detours. And their sensors can't yet tell if that dark spot in the road is a pothole, an oil slick, a puddle or something else. 

While the technology continues to move forward, it is possible that self-driving cars may only achieve their maximum safety potential when there is a critical mass of self-driving cars on the road. That way, at least the erratic driving of other humans wouldn't be a confounding factor. And certainly we have only just begun to learn of the many ways that self-driving cars can cause accidents themselves. 

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident– whether the car was driven by a human or a robot– an experienced personal injury attorney can help you secure the full compensation you need to recover and move on with life. 

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