When we adults were growing up, learning driving tasks was a rite of passage in our childhood development. Now the young generation can rely on autonomous vehicle mode more and more. One thing that hasn’t changed is getting hurt in car accidents. If you or someone in your family has been hurt in a car accident involving a self-driving Waymo vehicle in California, you can rely on Ehline Law for assistance. Our lawyers are dedicated to ensuring that Waymo takes responsibility for injuries that happen due to mistakes, problems with their self-driving car technology, issues with the car itself, and other safety problems.
We aren’t afraid to stand up to large technology companies, including Uber or Lyft. And we’ll work hard to ensure you receive the highest amount of money you should be compensated with for self-driving car accidents. Our history shows that we’re good at what we do – we’ve been able to help people who were hurt get back millions of dollars in payment for damages. Reach out to us today in the advent of self-driving car accident claims or other situations with another human driver at no cost.
Our article will discuss Waymo self-driving vehicles and how fully self-driving cars work. Our law office will also show you how to get a free consultation with a Waymo self-driving taxi accident lawyer if you’ve been hurt in a self-driving car crash and seek compensation. You don’t have to drive off a cliff to have a case. Even if your dog was run over and killed by a driverless car, you may still have a potential claim in certain situations.
What is the Waymo/Google Self-Driving Car Connection?
Waymo is among several companies that ultimately create self-driving car technology for cars to drive themselves. It was started by its original parent company Google in 2009 and has become a standalone subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. Since 2017, Waymo has been testing fully autonomous vehicles in places like the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Miami, Florida, and more.
Will Waymo End Self-Driving Car Accidents?
Probably not anytime soon. Waymo autonomous vehicles are powerful in California and Arizona, especially in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Smart car autonomous driving technology will allegedly eliminate mistakes made by humans, which are the main reasons for most pedestrian and car accidents.
However, there have been more and more crashes involving self-driving cars and things like bikes, scooters, and other vehicles, with some near school zones. By June 2022, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) got 480 reports of self-driving vehicles in personal injury accidents.
Recently, a Waymo crashed into a school bus. But the self-driving vehicle is supposedly going to reduce or eliminate human error; at least, that is what Waymo Vehicles intends to prove as they test self-driving cars more in various road conditions.
The technology used by Waymo autonomous vehicles includes:
- Cameras: These are like the eyes of the car, helping it see what’s around it so it knows when to activate the brakes in certain future situations
- Sensors: These are like the car’s senses, letting it detect things like other autonomous vehicles, people, and obstacles present, for example
- Artificial intelligence: This is like the car’s brain, helping it make intelligent decisions based on what it sees and senses, as well as other safety issues
- Algorithms: These are instructions that tell the self-driving car how to do things in different situations on public roads.
In February 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) gave Waymo and another fully autonomous vehicle company, Cruise (General Motors), special permits to operate autonomous cars. These permits allowed them to offer rides to passengers in cars that can drive themselves but with someone there to ensure everything is safe. This type of self-driving car with a person overseeing it is called a “driver” autonomous car. So-called self-driving cars that can drive independently without anyone inside are called “driverless” vehicles.
More About Testing Permits
These permits also let the companies charge money from people who ride in their self-driving cars and offer rides to multiple people. Before, Waymo and Cruise could only give rides to test out their vehicles and weren’t allowed to charge fares. According to a statement from the CPUC, Waymo is permitted to provide rides in certain parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties, day or night, going as fast as 65 miles per hour. But they can’t operate the cars in really thick fog or heavy rain due to the risk of potential self-driving vehicle accidents.
Waymo Argues Trade Secrets to Keep Car Accident Data Secret?
In January 2022, Waymo even went to court against the DMV to keep details about their self-driving car crashes secret, saying that this information is something only they should know. They claim it’s a kind of a trade secret they use for their self-driving car business that you or your family member should not know. After all, they assert that parties can claim against auto insurance to cover negligence damages. Lawyers argue they should be able to pursue all liable parties, including manufacturers, and this evidence is vital to personally injured occupants and others. Most injury attorneys question the software’s capability, especially in developing heavy trucking transportation systems, so prepare. This legal battle is not over, and no break is in sight.
How Do Self-Driving Vehicles Navigate Streets?
Driverless cars navigate streets using a combination of advanced technologies. Several transportation companies are seeking out these technologies to eliminate employees and overhead. These technologies work together to help the vehicle understand its surroundings and decide how to move, even parking our car for you.
Here’s how driverless vehicles work:
- Sensors and GPS: Autonomous vehicles have various sensors and a GPS. These sensors continuously collect data from the car’s surroundings. GPS helps a car or human driver determine the car’s exact location on the map.
- Data Interpretation: The computer inside the car processes the data collected by the sensors. It analyzes information about the road, nearby objects, and other vehicles.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): The computer uses artificial intelligence from tech companies to make intelligent decisions based on the data it has processed. Think of AI as the car’s ” brain, ” which guides its actions to help avoid a severe injury or death in a particular driving environment.
- Maneuvering: Based on the decisions made by AI, the car controls its movement. It decides when to accelerate, brake, turn, and stop, which differs from traditional cruise control in a non-driverless vehicle. Of course, this can make it harder to determine liability if a human driver or passenger blames a vehicle control system while operating in autonomous mode.
Self-driving vehicles use different types of sensors to gather information:
- Ultrasonic Sensors: These sensors use sound waves to detect things like curbs and obstacles around the car. But many injury attorneys argue that vehicle defects inherent in sensors need more technological advancements to quell their safety concerns over human or property damage with other motorists.
- Radar Sensors: Radar sensors emit radio waves that bounce off nearby objects. They’re used to track other vehicles and monitor their movements in real-time, similar to how a police officer uses a radar gun to track vehicle speeds.
- LiDAR Sensors: LiDAR sensors are like laser beams used to measure the distance to objects and create a 3D map of the car’s surroundings. This helps the vehicle “see” the other obstacles in detail to avoid safety issues with the general public.
- Cameras: Cameras capture images and videos of the environment. They can read traffic signs, detect pedestrians, and monitor other vehicles.
All these sensors and technologies work together to create a complete picture of the road and everything around the vehicle. This information is then used by the car’s AI to safely navigate streets, avoid obstacles, and interact with other traffic participants.
The Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) has defined six levels (listed as five levels starting with zero) of driverless automation to describe how much a car can drive itself:
- Level 0: A person drives the car all the time. There’s no automation at all to keep vehicles in their lanes, etc., just a warning alarm at best
- Level 1: The vehicle has one system that helps perform either steering or braking, but not both
- Level 2: The car’s advanced system can steer, brake, and speed up in some situations, but the driver must be ready to control braking, acceleration, and steering behind the wheel whenever needed
- Level 3: The car’s Automated Driving System (ADS) can handle all driving tasks sometimes, but an alerted person must be ready to take over when asked by the ADS monitoring systems
- Level 4: The ADS can drive the car and watch the road, and a person might be there but doesn’t need to watch the roadways
- Level 5: The ADS drives the car all the time, and no human driving is needed for accelerating, park, driving, or turning on the lights.
Waymo began testing Level 4 vehicles in 2017. They even had a big part of their pilot program in Chandler, Arizona, where they used self-driving minivans without human safety drivers. Waymo has asked the CPUC for permission to test their self-driving cars without human safety drivers in California. This means the cars would drive themselves ultimately, with no person behind the steering wheel for direction.
Liability for Crashes in Self-Driving Cars
Regarding accidents involving self-driving cars in Los Angeles, California, the issue of liability can be complex. According to a report from the DMV, there have been several collisions involving Waymo’s self-driving vehicles. Interestingly, most of these collisions were caused by other human drivers. Fortunately, these accidents resulted in only minor damage and no reported injuries. This includes an incident where a Waymo vehicle collided with a person on a motorized scooter. As Waymo expands its services to include fare rides with safety drivers in California, there will likely be more of these self-driving vehicles on the road.
Determining Bodily Injury Liability in a Self-Driving Car Accident
In the unfortunate event of an accident that leads to injuries, determining the cause can be challenging and requires the expertise of a skilled car accident attorney. When a self-driving car accident is caused by a malfunction in the vehicle’s technology or a defect in the car itself, the manufacturer can be held responsible through a product liability lawsuit. Injured individuals will be eligible to seek compensation for various damages depending on the specific accident under specific circumstances. This could include covering medical expenses, compensation for lost wages due to time off work, and even compensation for the physical and emotional pain experienced due to the accident.
Evolving Laws Means More Lawyers?
As self-driving technology becomes more prevalent on the roads, the legal landscape surrounding accidents and liability continues to evolve, and having a knowledgeable legal professional can be crucial in navigating these complexities. If you find yourself in a situation involving a self-driving accident with a Waymo vehicle in California, it’s essential to know your rights and options. That’s why you call it to our attention.
Despite Waymo’s assertion that their self-driving technology enhances road safety, it’s worth noting that the company is striving to keep collision data shared with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) confidential. Other companies like Ford, Volvo, and May Mobility are sure to follow the same tactic, and they pierce this burgeoning new market driver assistance concept model.
Contact a California Waymo Self-Driving Accident Law Firm Today!
In such cases, Ehline Law’s best self-driving car accident lawyer, Michael Ehline, remains thoroughly tested and equipped to ensure that Waymo is held responsible for its actions while safeguarding the rights of delivery drivers, occupants, and pedestrians who have suffered injuries. If you’re seeking assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can listen to your story and help you determine legal liability in pursuit of justice in the form of total and fair compensation. So speak with us today.
Our team is ready to provide you with information and support about your potential legal steps once you decide to reach out. Contact us today to understand how we can assist you during this challenging time. Are you ready to take control of your file?
We can help you pursue compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. Your well-being is our priority after suffering a driverless vehicle accident. Contact our leading car accident attorneys in Los Angeles today for a free consultation. New clients can begin today by dialing (213) 596-9642 24/7 for the best service in the world! We Win Big because our capable lawyers are determined to make them pay!