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Are self-driving cars the promise of the future?

Autonomous driving vehicles are the way of the future. It seems that industry experts are not debating if vehicles will ever be able to drive themselves with no human involvement, but when this will happen. According to recent reports, the introduction of self-driving cars into the mass market is less than a decade away, with a major boom expected over the next two decades.

One study predicted that by 2035, half of all vehicle sales in North America will be of self-driving vehicles and only 15 years after that, almost every car on the road will have the option of being driverless.

While many predict that these changes will be rapid once the cars are first introduced to the mass market, some are skeptical of the safety. The first vehicles would likely require drivers to be at the ready in case the technology in the car can't handle conditions on the road.

Proponents of the vehicles say that these vehicles will drastically reduce car accidents across the country, in addition to reduction in pollution and traffic congestion because of increased efficiencies.

Such new technology will likely produce significant legal challenges and questions that must be answered. Some will be predicted and solved through legislative action, while others will result in lawsuits. These lawsuits could come from questions about who is liable if a self-driving car crashes. What should happen if technology failure is the cause of a crash, or if hacking of new technology leads to accidents. The benefits and risks of this technology will have to be constantly reassessed.

Source: NBC News, “Self-driving cars popular by mid-century: study,” Paul A. Eisenstein, Jan. 6, 2014

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