The technology companies investing in driverless vehicles are doing so in the hopes of one day reaping substantial profits, of course. But they are also in pursuit of helping us resolve several big problems: fossil fuel consumption and dependence, air pollution and traffic congestion.
Advocates of the technology also say it has the potential to dramatically reduce or even eliminate motor vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities.
By now, everyone has heard of the fatal pedestrian accident involving an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona. The self-driving vehicle struck a woman crossing a street. She died of her injuries.
Some critics of the ride-sharing company say it is pushing its driverless technology too far, too fast.
Some of our readers will recall that Uber's first experiment with self-driving vehicles was two years ago, here in Pennsylvania. The company put some self-driving vehicles on public roads in Pittsburgh. It has since conducted experiments in California and now Arizona, where the recent pedestrian accident took place.
Why is Uber pushing so hard to get its autonomous tech on the roads? Some news reports suggest that the company is under financial pressure. It has already spent $3 billion more than it has earned. Self-driving technology would enable it to reduce fares by 80 percent -- and more important, put the company in the black.
Other companies (Google, Ford, Tesla, GM, etc.) are also pushing the technology forward, but appear less inclined to take the risks Uber takes routinely.
We do not know if driverless cars will one day soon be on the streets and highways in the Greensburg area, but we do know that car accidents today are most often caused by human error. If you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted, speeding, reckless or impaired driver, contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.