Waymo (Google Self-Driving Car Project) is a self-driving technology company dedicated to making transportation safer and easier for people around the world. Waymo represents a new way forward in mobility – it is based on technology developed since 2009 in Google’s labs. As mentioned, Waymo’s goal is to make transportation easier but most importantly safer. This goal is based on the unfortunate fact that traffic accidents result in more than 35,000 deaths per year – only in the U.S. Approximately 94% of these fatal accidents in our country are caused by human error or human choice. Because of this, Waymo is committed to developing fully self-driving vehicles. Not only can self-driving vehicles dramatically reduce the number of fatal deaths due to human error/choice, but also can allow the elderly, blind, or disabled (people who cannot and should not drive) to have a reliable method of transportation. As Waymo’s technology continues to advance, the company is also exploring the possibility of integrating their self-driving tech into commercial vehicles. The Waymo fleet of self-driving vehicles includes a number of recognized makes and models. The fleet consists of modified vehicles, which have included Toyota Priuses, Lexus SUVs, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, and the custom-built prototype nicknamed “Firefly.” Waymo has also recently partnered with Jaguar to introduce premium electric self-driving vehicles into the Waymo fleet. Because the Waymo self-driving technology is so new, all cars come with a trained back-up driver. These trained drivers are there to ensure that all Waymo passengers have a convenient and comfortable experience traveling in the self-driving vehicles.
Waymo is Enticing Riders
Waymo is currently focusing on specific amenities to entice rider to use its self-driving taxi service with a goal of potentially increasing profitability. Some of the different amenities that have recently been implemented in the self-driving vehicles include the following:
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Ad-free music streaming
- Child car seats in all minivans
- Pre-cooled vehicles to 72 degrees
How comfortable are you with self-driving technology? Without a doubt, new technology is always doubted. Many people are hesitant to try the self-driving taxi service. Although Waymo claims that its self-driving technology can reduce the incidents of auto accidents, is this information reliable? Are self-driving vehicles safe? Do the different amenities offered by Waymo to try to entice you make you forget about your different concerns regarding the safety and reliability of self-driving vehicles?
Understanding the Risks Associated with Self-Driving Vehicles – Based on Past Incidents
For some, the different amenities Waymo offers in their vehicles might be enough to be more willing to travel in self-driving vehicles. However, it is important to consider the facts. Since February 2018, Waymo self-driving vehicles have traveled 5 million miles – all with the presence of a trained back-up (human) driver. The purpose of the back-up driver is to both monitor and override the autonomous (self-driving) mode to improve safety while in motion. Why is this relevant? According to reports, the intervention of these Waymo back-up drivers was necessary every 5,600 miles (on average). Considering that most rides are short-distance, you might not be worried about something that might happen every few thousands of miles. The fact that the autonomous vehicles in the leading rideshare company required back-up driver intervention approximately every 13 miles (in comparison with Waymo’s need for intervention every 5,600 miles) might give you some peace of mind. Regardless, the self-driving vehicles needed human intervention – because the technology is still not 100% reliable. There have been many instances in which vehicles with advanced technologies have resulted in fatalities. Consider the following information.
- Automated vehicles: automated vehicles require drivers to be fully aware and prepared to take control of the vehicle at any moment. There have been at least five incidents involving automated vehicles (vehicles with the auto-pilot function). One incident occurred in China. The remaining incidents occurred in the U.S. – both in California and in Florida. These incidents have resulted in both driver and pedestrian fatalities.
- Autonomous vehicles: autonomous vehicles require drivers to take control of the vehicle only occasionally, under extreme circumstances. There has only been one incident involving a fully autonomous vehicle. The incident occurred in the U.S. – specifically, in Arizona. The incident resulted in a pedestrian fatality.
None of the incidents involving fatalities mentioned above included Waymo vehicles, but that does not means that their self-driving vehicles have never been involved in crashes. In June 2015, Google revealed that their self-driving vehicles had been involved in 12 collisions. According to the report, 8 of the collisions were rear-end crashes, in which another driver at stop signs or traffic lights rear-ended the autonomous vehicle. The other collisions include two side-swipe crashes, one stop-sign rolling collision, and one collision when a back-up driver was manually driving the vehicle. Just a month later, in July 2015, there were two additional crashes. Regardless, Google always maintained that their autonomous vehicles were never at fault because in all the collisions the vehicle was either being controlled manually or was struck by a negligent driver. There is one exception, however. In February 2016, while slowly moving forward towards a stoplight, a self-driving car attempted to avoid hitting sandbags that were blocking its path. While trying to maneuver around the sandbags, the vehicle struck the side of a bus. Google accepted responsibility for this incident and claimed that it was a learning experience.
Liability for Waymo Incidents
As explained above, self-driving vehicles can be involved in auto accidents. The possibility of both fatal and minor accidents is real. Because of that, it makes sense that Waymo is insured. Waymo partnered with Trov. Trov, founded in 2012 and headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the world’s leading insurance platform – specifically, the leading on-demand insurance platform. Unfortunately, there is not much information available regarding the coverage that Trov provides for Waymo and their riders. However, it is safe to assume that all riders and other parties that might be harmed in any accidents involving Waymo might be covered by this insurance coverage.
What if I was in a Waymo Accident?
If you were involved in a Waymo accident, you might have grounds to pursue a Waymo auto accident claim. Your right to pursue a claim depends on the specific details of the accident. For example, if the self-driving vehicle was suddenly rear-ended by a negligent driver that failed to stop, you will likely have grounds to pursue a claim against the liable driver’s insurance coverage. On the contrary, if the self-driving vehicle suddenly malfunctioned and failed to stop and sped through a red light, leading to a collision, you might have grounds to pursue a claim against Waymo’s insurance. Because your right to pursue an accident claim depends on many different details, it is important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to provide you with all the information that you need to learn more about your right to pursue a personal injury claim for the auto accident in which you were harmed.
Could You Receive Compensation?
If you have the right to pursue a claim, do you also have the right to receive compensation? If your claim reaches a successful outcome, you will likely be eligible to receive monetary compensation for the harm that you and your family suffered. Could you recover compensation? How much compensation could you recover? What type of compensation could you be eligible to receive? Every claim is different, but claimants will likely be eligible to receive compensation. In general, the compensation available for recovery could include the following: medical expenses; lost earning; pain and suffering; property damage; funeral and burial costs; loss of consortium; punitive damages. If you would like to learn more about the specific type and amount of compensation that you might be eligible to receive if your claim reaches a successful outcome, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance immediately. An experienced attorney will aggressively fight for your right to receive the compensation that you deserve.
Downtown L.A. Law Group
Downtown L.A. Law Group is a personal injury law firm with many years of experience handling a variety of claims. We are dedicated to representing the victims affected by all sort of personal injury accidents. Throughout our years of experience, we have successfully handled countless cases, ensuring that our clients – the unfortunate victims of personal injury accidents – recover the compensation to which they are entitled. If you would like to learn more about your right to pursue a claim after being involved in a Waymo accident, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with our experts at your earliest convenience. Our lawyers offer free legal services to ensure that all parties affected by personal injury accidents have access to our expertise. During our free consultations and free second opinions, our lawyers will be available to answer all your questions, address all your concerns, and ensure that you have the information and tools that you need to pursue your claim. If you would like to schedule a free consultation or free second opinion, do not hesitate to contact us. You can contact us without ever having to worry about paying expensive fees – as our firm offers a Zero-Fee guarantee. Our Zero-Fee guarantee ensures that our clients will never be required to pay anything until after their claims reach positive outcomes. If they do not win, they will not be required to pay anything. If you are ready to discuss your current situation and the possibility of pursuing a Waymo accident claim with the experts at our firm, do not hesitate to contact Downtown L.A. Law Group today.