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Tech lags behind questions on driverless cars and trucks

Recent headlines have been filled with word about amazing advances in efforts to get self-driving vehicles on the road. Texas readers will surely have noticed, however, that among those headlines are some reporting that a few test vehicles have been involved in accidents.

The developers insist that none of the accidents resulted in anyone being treated for an injury. They also say all were actually the result of human error committed by the other drivers involved. Meanwhile, last month, Reuters and other news outlets reported that Nevada issued a license allowing tests of a self-driving semitrailer truck on state highways.

As this is written there are no known reports of the big rig being involved in an accident. If one were to occur, however, you can be sure a lot of effort would be made to sort out whether the accident resulted from human error or some computer glitch.

While all eyes may be focused on these immediate issues, some experts in the vehicle development field are dismissing the idea that the time of autonomous cars and trucks is close at hand.

Steve Shladover is one of them. The University of California, Berkeley, researcher has been focused on automated vehicles for the past 40 years and he says vehicles requiring no human intervention aren't likely anytime in our lifetimes. He says few appreciate how complicated it's going to be to write software that addresses all the possible weather, lighting and traffic condition variables that could be encountered.

As he puts it, "The old 'blue screen of death' won't just be a figure of speech anymore. It could mean that somebody actually dies."

Most accidents today occur because of negligence or recklessness on the part of human beings. That's not going to change anytime in the near future. If you or a loved one suffers injury or wrongful death, contacting an attorney is the way to ensure aggressive protection of your rights.

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