New Autonomous Car with No Driving ControlsMarch 5, 2020
Honda and General Motors (GM) have introduced the Origin, a fully autonomous vehicle that has no steering wheel, pedals, windshield wipers, or back sight mirrors. The outside of the vehicle looks more like a small bus or train car than a passenger vehicle. Cruise Automation, the self-driving car subsidiary of GM, designed the Origin as a rolling pod that passengers can contact via a ridesharing app. However, there are questions about the safety of these vehicles, and whether the government is taking an active role in regulating autonomous vehicles.
The Origin is an electric vehicle that has no obvious front or back; its doors slide open instead of opening out. Customers who wish to try an Origin vehicle simply enter their location in the app, and the vehicle will drive itself to that location. The customer then enters a code on a keypad outside the vehicle to gain access. Once inside, the customer uses switches inside the vehicle to begin the trip.
GM Highlights Advantages of the Origin
The vehicle uses weight and seat belt sensors to determine if a passenger has entered or left the vehicle. GM executives discussed the benefits of the broad, gliding doors, which enable two passengers to enter or leave at the same time. The Origin can carry multiple passengers, helping to reduce traffic in busy cities and improve roadway safety. The Origin will operate for approximately 18 hours a day.
Addressing Safety Concerns
The federal government is taking more of a hands-off approach when it comes to regulating these vehicles and is leaving it to the companies to self-regulate. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other safety advocates say strict federal regulations are necessary to test these vehicles and ensure their safety. The NTSB cited an incident involving a self-driving Uber vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian as she was crossing the street with her bike. Car accidents such as these have a major impact on the public’s confidence in autonomous vehicles, including those that are used for ridesharing. This could be addressed with more federal regulations.
Since the Origin does not have any human controls, it cannot yet operate on the roads in the United States. Cars must have a steering wheel, brake pedals, and mirrors on the outside. The Origin would need an exception from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in order to operate.
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If you were injured in a car accident involving an autonomous vehicle, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and determine who is responsible for your injuries. Our skilled legal team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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