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August 11, 2016

Autonomous Commercial Trucks Are Currently in Beta Testing: Update for Consumer Advocates & Attorneys

Last week was the Autonomous Vehicle Symposium in San Francisco where a number of companies attended and gave presentations about their products that deal with either autonomous vehicles or self-driving technology. One of those companies was a trucking company called Peloton. Peloton makes technology that connects semi-trucks together on the highways and lets them communicate so that the front driver of the front semi-truck controls the speed and the breaking of all the subsequent semi-trucks. They are essentially in a convoy tailgating each other. The benefit is that saves fuel; up to ten percent per vehicle. Which is great. And it’s also great that potentially this could be safe. But, ultimately this is technology that’s driven by computers. As we all know, computers can have glitches. They can have bugs. They can fail. When that happens in your office, it can be frustrating; it can be maddening. But when it happens on the highway, with a semi-truck rig, it can potentially be deadly.

This new technology that Peloton announced in San Francisco has already been approved for beta testing in a number of states, including Florida.

That’s a concern for consumer advocates because if their brand-new technology fails, it could obviously cost lives and injure people. Now granted, the technology may be great and hopefully we have no failures, but consumer advocates need to be aware that this technology is, right now, on the roads/on highways being used at highway speeds.

So if you, as an attorney, have a crash involving a heavy truck, look for this technology, see if it’s there, and just ask the question as to whether it may have contributed to a particular accident.

So thanks for reading; we’ll keep this on the radar. Check back here and we’ll give you any updates that they come in. Thanks again.