April 15, 2016 technology

Is the Legal Community Ready for Self-Driving Cars?

By Angela Foster

By 2020, technology companies and car manufactures project that 10 million self-driving cars will be on the roads. Notably technology has moved beyond simple features like autonomous braking, crash prevention radars, and lane assistance to cars that drive themselves with little human oversight.

  Driverless car

Driverless car

Getty Images

Recently, automotive companies like Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla have developed self-driving features that provide a car with the capability of driving without any human intervention. The question is no longer whether self-driving cars will become a reality, but whether the legal community is ready for them.

What Is a Self-Driving Car?

A self-driving car is defined as any car with features that allow the car to accelerate, brake, and steer the car's course with limited or no driver interaction. Self-driving cars are categorized as semi-autonomous or fully autonomous. A fully autonomous vehicle can drive from point A to point B and encounter on-road scenarios without needing any interaction from the driver.

The self-driving car's control system is equipped with a GPS unit, an inertial navigation system, and a range of sensors. The control system is capable of making intelligent decisions by maintaining an internal map of the surroundings and using that map to find an optimal path to a destination that avoids obstacles.

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