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What if the new Google car self-drives me into a car accident?

Self-driving cars could be here sooner than we think. Although the new Google autonomous vehicle is not road legal yet, according to the internet company, we could be seeing these driverless automobiles on roadways inside the next couple of years. The idea leaves many of us wondering if the idea is safe and what the chances are of getting into a car accident?

Indeed, departments of motor vehicles in Wisconsin and throughout the nation will have to rewrite road rules in order to accommodate these new kinds of cars if they are ever allowed to drive on the road. The technology is impressive, and many are shocked to find that Google's self-driving cars do not have steering wheels, gas pedals or even a brake pedal. Instead, they have buttons and a screen to display a vehicle's route. Also, at this point, the recently unveiled prototype only goes 25 mph.

On the interior, the self-driving automobile has room for two people on a couch-like seat. Google says the product is not ready for public consumption yet, but it wants to put approximately 100 test vehicles on public roads at some point within the next year.

Proponents of the safety of these self-driving cars say that riding in one could be even safer than driving a traditional vehicle. They say that the cumulative effect of having self-driving vehicles on the roads would make driving even safer for everyone on the road. The prototype includes sensors that can see objects that are over two football fields away from the vehicle. Also, the car eliminates the possibility of drunk driving, would help the elderly travel across town and provide other benefits to drivers.

Still, what if this new technology self-drives a Wisconsin resident right into a car accident? Who is to blame and who is liable for injuries? Google or the owners of the car?

Source: ABC News, "No Driver, No Problem: How Google's Self-Driving Car Transforms Travel" Alyssa Newcomb, May. 28, 2014

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