GM Super Cruise: The Future of Hands-Free Driving

One of the first things we are taught in driver’s education is how to properly hold a steering wheel. However, as technology progresses, our vehicles are increasingly gaining the ability to drive themselves. It seems that the future of driving is hands-free.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, General Motors made an exciting announcement during the Intelligent Transportation Society’s annual conference in Detroit. GM revealed that their newest hands-free technology, known as the Super Cruise, will be implemented in their entire line of Cadillac vehicles as soon as 2020. Super Cruise is already available in the 2018 Cadillac CT6 Sedan, and after 2020, it will be introduced into other GM models, including GMC and Chevrolet. This innovative feature is described as, “the world’s first true hands-free driving system for the freeway.” It should be noted that “hands-free” driving only applies to simple cruising, and that manual control is necessary when changing lanes and merging or exiting the highway.

According to Cadillac, Super Cruise relies on LiDar mapping, short for Light Detection and Ranging, to allow hands-free driving across 130,000 miles of limited-access freeway stretching the US and Canada. Along with LiDar, GPS informs the system of upcoming curves and hills for the vehicle to adjust accordingly.  Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), another element of Super Cruise, accelerates the vehicle and actives the brakes when necessary.

Another main component of Super Cruise is the embedded Driver Attention System. While the emphasis is on hands-free driving, that does not mean attention free driving! Cadillac’s exclusive head tracking software certifies that drivers have their eyes on the road. If the system notices a lack of attention, it will send a series of alerts to inform the driver to either pay attention, or re-engage their hands on the steering wheel. Additional cameras and sensors work to maintain the vehicle within the proper lane markings as a part of the Lane Keep Assist feature.

It is important to keep in mind that while this technology is cutting-edge, it has not yet been perfected. There are many limitations that drivers should be aware of to avoid an unintended distracted driving car accident. As mentioned earlier, full attention is required by the driver while using Super Cruise. This means that any handheld devices, particularly cell phones, should be kept out of sight. It can be tempting to rely on this innovative technology to do the driving while the occupants of the vehicle watch TV or text, but in doing so, the distracted driver puts themselves at risk of a car accident injury. A fast reaction time may be vital in preventing a car crash, if a traffic obstacle requires the driver to manually take control of the vehicle.

While important, it is not enough to simply pay attention to the road when Super Cruise is activated. The vehicle must be regularly taken in for scheduled maintenance to ensure that all cameras and sensors are working properly. Additionally, for the technology to work as intended, road lane markings must be able to be detected by the vehicle. Because poor weather conditions may impact detection, Super Cruise is best used in good weather.

As stated by Steve Carlisle, Senior Vice President of GM and President of Cadillac, “Cadillac is proud to be the leader for the company’s [General Motors] innovation.” Super Cruise is an impressive, realistic step towards fully autonomous driving. The ultimate goal of autonomous vehicles is to eliminate human error, making driving safer and easier. But for the time being, the technology necessary to make this goal a reality is still developing. While the concept of Super Cruise is hands-free, the driver’s hands should still be nearby, and their eyes should stay on the road ahead.


No matter which vehicle make you are driving, and no matter if it has Super Cruise or not, the driver's full attention to the road is essential. All it takes is a few seconds for a car accident to occur. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Lawrence Technical University Students Developing Autonomous Tech

While much of the focus on the development of autonomous vehicles in Michigan has been on automobile manufacturers in Detroit, and MCity at the University of Michigan, another Michigan college has been making strides in the development of autonomous technology as well. Lawrence Technical University in Southfield, Michigan, is one of the only places in the country where an autonomous vehicle is being developed by students, not engineers.

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According to The Detroit News, a group of students, lead by two professors, are creating an Autonomous Campus Transport/Taxi, also known as ACTor.  The vehicle is a semi-autonomous car that so far, can navigate short routes, stop at stop signs, and detect pedestrians in the street. Investors have donated money to the project to take it from a semi-autonomous vehicle to a fully autonomous vehicle that can be used as a taxi around campus. This is expected to be achieved by August of 2018. At that point, the vehicle will be fully autonomous, but the driver would still be ready to take over the vehicle at any time.

The vehicle is a Polaris Gem, and the project has received a great amount of support form local investors. Hyundai MOBIS invested an initial $15,000 in the project, which allowed the students to purchase the vehicle. Dataspeed, an engineering firm in Rochester Hills, invested in the project by installing the hardware into the vehicle, which allowed the students to be able to focus on writing code. Solar Technology Inc. provided the radar system that allows the vehicle to be able to find it’s way, and Realtime Technologies Inc. provided a cash donation. Last spring, the project won the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition at Oakland University, which has also lead to the project receiving more funding. 

Nicholas Paul is a first-year computer science graduate student who is leading the team of student developers. He said that once they got the vehicle, “[they] were able to plug in the vehicle and begin working. [They] were able to write smaller programs; some of them only handle stop sign recognition, obstacle detection. All of these things that come together to create the software that runs on this vehicle currently. All of those components help make intelligent decisions, safe decisions about the surroundings and the destination, where it needs to go.” He also says that word about the vehicle is traveling quickly around campus. Informing people about autonomous technology is one of the goals of having a self-driving taxi on campus, as well as a providing a transportation option for those who have trouble getting around. 

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The students at Lawrence Technical University are further highlighting just how important southeast Michigan is when it comes to the future of autonomous technology. With their contributions, along with the work being done at the University of Michigan, and by Detroit automobile manufacturers, we could be seeing autonomous vehicles on the streets sometime very soon. Having autonomous car on the road in turn may lead to safer roads with fewer car accidents. Since driver-less cars remove the driver and thereby human error, it's very likely that we will have fewer car accidents on the road. It's exciting to know that southwest Michigan is playing such a large part in developing autonomoustechnology that will likely change driving and driver safety as we know it. 


Until self-driving vehicles become mainstream and are able to fully eliminate human error, car accidents are still going to happen. If you or a loved one have been the victim of an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are highly expereinced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bus accidents. 

Driverless Pizza Delivery In Ann Arbor

Pizza delivery in Ann Arbor, Michigan just got a lot more interesting. Starting this month, Domino’s customers in Northeast Ann Arbor have the opportunity to have their pizza delivered to them by car and car alone - no delivery man required! The Ford Motor Company and Domino’s Pizza are working together on a project to deliver pizza via autonomous vehicle, to randomly selected customers in Ann Arbor.

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According to The New York Times (NYT), Ford is using specially designed self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids to deliver Domino’s pizza. The cars have been designed to deliver data back to Ford regarding how smoothly the car travels through the city and makes the deliveries. That data is extremely important to the company, as they are hoping to start producing fully autonomous vehicles, without steering wheels or pedals, by 2021. It’s an especially daunting task as the NYT reports that Ford has been viewed as relatively "lagging" in the autonomous technology game compared to other car manufacturers. So, Ford may be hoping this pizza delivery experiment will help to put them ahead.

Domino’s Pizza, a company founded near Ann Arbor, is more interested in what happens specifically during the last few minutes of the delivery. What will happen when customers are faced with a self-driving car and no delivery man? Will customers be unhappy about having to come out of their houses to interact with the delivery car? What happens if the customer can’t figure out how to get the pizza out of the car, or there’s a problem with the order? This is all information Domino’s, and the autonomous service industry as a whole, need to know in order to move forward with driverless delivery vehicles. One thing customers are sure to love is that no driver means no tip!

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So, what about the delivery vehicle itself? Well, these aren’t your standard delivery cars, on the inside or the outside. The cars are white with large black lettering that says “self-driving” and “experimental,” in an effort to avoid as many car collisions as possible. On the roof of the car are sensors, software, fusions, and radar laser beams that are all used to scan the road and send data back to Ford. The car is even able to text the customer when it is approaching the delivery address. On the rear passenger side window is large red arrow that says “start here,” directing the customer to a touchscreen. Here, the customer will enter the last 4 digits of their phone number, which will open the compartment of the car that holds the food. There is space for 5 pizzas and 4 sides and each car is designed to keep the food warm during the ride.

The driverless delivery experiment was supposed to start on August 28, 2017, but was delayed due to inclement weather, since the equipment on the outside of the car cannot yet withstand heavy rain. Domino’s and Ford say they plan on continuing the experiment through September, with the cars making 3-6 deliveries a day. While the project is in testing, the cars will be manned, with both a Ford researcher who can override the vehicle in order to avoid any motor vehicle accidents, and a Domino’s employee who is there to observe the behavior of the customer. With two humans in the car until all of the autonomous kinks are ironed out, hopefully, no one in Ann Arbor will have to call a car accident lawyer!

Contrary to the popular belief that 'robots' such as self-driving cars are going to put humans out of work, Domino’s insists they are not looking to replace drivers with autonomous cars. Mr. Kelly Garcia, Domino’s senior vice president for e-commerce development, said, “We could use autonomous cars to fill in where we have a shortage of drivers, or add capacity during surges in business. We will have drivers for a long time. This is not about reducing labor costs.”

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While self-driving pizza delivery may seem outlandish to some, it’s quite possible it did not come as much of a surprise to Ann Arbor residents, since the city and the University of Michigan are home to a great deal of autonomous vehicle testing. Readers may remember The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC has written about the university’s driverless shuttles that transport students around the North Campus, as well as MCity, the university’s testing ground for self-driving cars.

Driverless food delivery is yet another leap forward for self driving technology. While many organizations are still concentrating on autonomous cars being able to transport people, companies like Ford and Domino’s are already looking ahead to the transportation of goods. If the experiment is successful, it could make way for a wide range of delivery services. Next thing you know, a Fedex truck might show up at your house with no delivery man to toss a package onto your lawn!


Self-driving cars continue to be an exciting step forward for driving technology. Presently however, no amount of innovation in the automotive industry can fully guarantee that drivers will always be safe and that auto accidents won’t happen. If you have been injured in an motor vehicle accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation.  

Driverless Shuttles Expected To Launch at U-M This Fall

Come Fall 2017, students at the University of Michigan (U-M) will be riding to class via self-driving shuttles! Nicknamed Arma, two fully automated and electric, 15-passenger shuttles will launch on U-M’s North Campus, transporting students, faculty, and staff between the engineering campus and the North Campus Research Complex on Plymouth Road. The Detroit Free Press emphasizes that the shuttles will be used to study how passengers react to regular vehicles on the road, as a way of gaining perspective on consumer acceptance of autonomous technology.

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The shuttles can travel up to 35 mph and are powered by a 33 kilowatt per hour battery pack that takes 5-8 hours to charge. They have seating capacity for nine people, but can fit more if passengers hold onto hand rails. The Arma shuttles use an advanced global positioning system to track information from up to 17 satellites and are accurate to the inch on roads, even proven to be reliable in light rain and snow that characterize much of Michigan’s weather. The driver-less vehicles will drive themselves on University of Michigan roadways, alongside regular cars driven by the public, on a 2 mile circular route, every 10 minutes.

The shuttles have been developed by Mcity, the University of Michigan’s public-private partnership for mobility research, and were manufactured by French firm Navya. Mcity is funded by the university, federal grants, and about 65 automakers and other companies. 

Huei Peng, the director of Mcity and a professor of mechanical engineering at U-M, said to the Detroit Free Press, “This first-ever automated shuttle service on campus is a critical research project that will help us understand the challenges and opportunities presented by this type of mobility service and how people interact with it.” 

Peng commented that the shuttles are just the latest innovation from Mcity. “The university has a record of innovation in virtually every aspect of mobility...That breadth and depth are some of the reasons why we were so well-positioned to create Mcity and provide a safe, controlled environment for vehicle testing.” Mcity's website also explains to the public how autonomous vehicles operate, discussing radar, light direction, and cameras to gather data and utilize sensors for efficient and safe driving. 

Navya Technologies on the other hand, is a 2-year-old company based in Lyon, France. In June, the firm announced its plans to build the Arma shuttles at a new plant in Ann Arbor. Navya is aiming to build 20 vehicles by the end of this year and hopes to sell them to commercial buyers. 

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Henri Coron, Navya’s vice president for sales, said, “To create a market, we need a vision and a strong partner. The important thing is to create this market in the US.” It should be noted that Arma shuttles are already driven on roads around the world, having been designed for theme parks and large campus-like environments such as the University of Michigan. 

The autonomous shuttles will start by running on U-M roads during business hours. The main goal of testing the new shuttles is to monitor consumer interest and acceptance, at no cost to riders. There will be a safety monitor person in the vehicle at all times, along with emergency stop buttons for passengers to use if needed. 

The self-driving vehicle industry is fast-growing, and Michigan is continuing to prove that we are a step ahead of the pack. While the future of autonomous is very near, in the current driving environment, drivers must continue to pay attention to traffic rules and take safety precautions when riding in vehicles, including the Arma shuttle. The last thing anyone wants is to be injured in an automobile accident. Staying informed of new car technology developments, including the latest self-driving technology, can offer a better road experience for everyone, now and in the future. 


The University of Michigan is preparing to take another leap into the world of self-driving cars with the launch of autonomous shuttles on campus this fall. However, student safety as well as the safety of other drivers on the road, will remain of utmost importance. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Ford To Create Artificial Intelligence Team for Autonomous Tech Development

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Ford Motor Company plans to accelerate its autonomous technology development by creating a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team. The original Detroit automaker fully understands the future of automobile technology and does not plan on missing out on the growing opportunities. Ken Washington, Ford's Vice President of research and advanced engineering and Chief Technology Officer, stated, “the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the way we get around  —  even in just the next five to 10 years  —  is potentially enormous.”

So, to get ahead of the curve, Ford is collaborating with Argo AI, a startup artificial intelligence company. Argo was co-founded by Bryan Salesky, a former Google autonomous car project team member, and Peter Rander, an engineer for Uber. Per The Detroit News, Washington says that Ford's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team will work with Argo, who will lead the development and design of the brains of Ford’s self driving vehicles, in an effort to advance the automaker's autonomous technology. More specifically, Washington writes on his blog that the main functions of the team will be to evaluate and analyze vehicle sensor technology, machine learning methods, and the development of personal mobility devices, drones and other aerial robotic mechanisms. The team will be working in Dearborn, Michigan with a small branch located next to University of Michigan’s MCity research center for autonomous and connected vehicles.

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Ford plans to have its self driving vehicle available to the market by 2021. The car will be fully autonomous, and will not include a steering wheel or pedals. Washington told The Detroit Free Press that they are making great progress toward their goal. He stated that the first fleet will most likely be released within the confines of a “geofence,” or virtual geographic boundary, inside a city or campus.

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However, the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team may not only be limited to the advancement of autonomous technology. Ford plans to use the team for ergonomic research as well. The company wants robots to take the place of workers in roles that are more dangerous and life-threatening, in the hopes of reducing worker injuries and in building a safer working environment for all everyone. Aside from their work with Argo, Ford wants its team to continue building relationships with other startup companies and even lead projects with universities including Stanford University, M.I.T., University of Michigan, Purdue University, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and others.

Ford clearly has grand ambitions for the near future and is making bold moves to ensure that they will be successful in their driver-less car pursuits. While autonomous vehicles may help reduce the number of car accident fatalities in the future, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of highway crashes are currently caused by human error. So, until automakers like Ford are successful in implementing autonomous cars into our everyday lives, humans must remember to follow the rules of the road.


Ford should be proud of its Ford Fusion series, one of the main models that is being converted to become autonomous. This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a 5 star safety rating, and the U.S. News gave it a 9.3 out of 10. It is important to note however that while these are excellent safety ratings, no vehicle is considered to be invincible. Any vehicle controlled by a human is potentially prone to being involved in a car accident. If you have been in a car accident or accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our firm helps car accidents identify and receive any benefits they may be intitled to, under Michigan law.

Chrysler Portal: A Concept Vehicle Made With Millennials In Mind

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They've popularized the selfie, revolutionized the uses for social media, and thrive off of constant action. Who are they? They are millennials of course!

Also known as Generation Y, millennials  are the youngest generation of adults, made up of people born from 1980-2000, who are currently coming in to their own in today's world. While most associations to millennials seem to be negative, for example, one big stereotype is that millennials are lazy and narcissistic, they are the future of the world and of the economy. Recently, however millennials have been labeled as “ruining the American economy,” since statistics have shown that millennials commute by car less than any other generation, thus raising concerns for the multi-billion dollar auto industry. 

To address this lack of millennial car consumer demand, Chrysler unveiled its all-electric Portal concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2017. Fiat Chrysler, CNN News reports, is said to have spent 20 years conducting research on these potential customers, understanding their behavior and greatest vehicle desires. There is little surprise that technology was found to be the main requirement millennials were looking for in their cars. With the constant connections and multi-tasking young people do nowadays, both at home and in the workplace, automakers are developing new products with a different crowd in mind.

Chrysler Portal Concept Car

Chrysler Portal's Millennial Inspired Vehicle Features

  1. Portal’s most touted feature involves something as millennial as it gets: selfies. The car is able to take a photo of all six passengers, and then send the image to everyone’s mobile device so it can be shared on social media, connected via plug-in ports.
  2. Another important aspect of Portal is its music, a valuable part of the driving experience for potential millennial customers. The car allows everyone in the vehicle to combine their songs and videos into one shared playlist to listen to while on the road. Portal’s stereo also has “zoned audio” that lets passengers listen to different audio in different parts of the car, without wearing headphones. This technology also can amplify certain external sounds for the driver, like the sound of sirens from an approaching ambulance.
  3. A display screen on the car’s ceiling lets the vehicle’s occupants access a shared playlist from the passengers’ mobile devices, along with putting together things like a drive-thru dinner order. Portal can even pay for the dinner order by linking payment information with the feature.
  4. Portal also has a fully customizable interior. Indoor LED accent lighting can be changed to any color, and car sears may be moved back and forth along tracks and even removed completely to create more storage space. 
  5. All-electric, Chrysler's proposed vehicle can drive up to 250 miles on a full charge. In fact, just 20 minutes of charging allows vehicle operators to drive 150 miles. Not only is this convenient, but it caters to millennials' environmentally friendly mindset. 
  6. While Portal still has a steering wheel and pedals, its limited self-driving capabilities keep the product current with autonomous car technology. The steering wheel is able to fold into the dashboard when not in use. 
  7. Perhaps most importantly to the busy, career driven young person, Chrysler’s millennial-focused vehicle uses cameras with facial recognition software mounted on the outside of the car to recognize people approaching the vehicle. That allows for custom interior and entertainment features to automatically be set up for the passengers before they even enter the vehicle. Portal sounds like it has everything a millennial could ever dream for!
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While automakers are busy working to develop new vehicles with millennial customers in mind, cities on the other hand, are continuing to expand public transportation and other alternative forms of getting around. This recent growth in alternative transportation including city bike share programs, like Detroit's own MoGo, is why Citylab predicts that millennials will rely less and less on cars. Additionally, people who have more money tend to drive more, and millennials just aren’t making much income right now.  Also, this age group cares more about their environmental impact than other generations, choosing other forms of transportation to get around in order to keep the planet clean.  

Chrysler seems to be on the right track in gearing their new motor vehicle concepts towards millennials. However, it is important to remember to focus on the road at all times, as fancy selfie features and multitasking audio systems may increase the chances of a car crash due to distracted driving. Millennials can call themselves the “cool” generation all they want, but new cars like the Portal must promote safety as well as tech savvy, because nothing is cool about causing a car crash.


By designing a vehicle tailored to millennial preferences and driving style, Chrysler's concept vehicle could become a hit among America's biggest generation. However, with the introduction of even more technology in the car, millennial drivers must remember to always keep their eyes on the road, no matter what angle the in-car selfie is snapping a photo from. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Introducing The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog has maintained a focus on the steady development of autonomous vehicle projects and the various companies that are preparing for future autonomous vehicle production. However, cars are not the only forms of transportation that will soon become automated.

Daimler, the creator of the Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles, is revolutionizing public city transportation by creating the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, a semi-automated bus with CityPilot. CityPilot is an autonomous driving system designed by Daimler, that allows semi-automated buses to drive safely and efficiently in a special, designated lane up to 43 mph. According to Daimler’s website, the Future Bus has been the next development following the Mercedes-Benz Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, a partially automated semi-truck that has already been driving on its own, on motorways. The CityPilot system was created based off of Highway Pilot technology, yet it has undergone more advanced developments and possesses more functions.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

CityPilot is equipped with about a dozen cameras that scan the road, while short and long radar systems monitor the route ahead. This allows the bus to recognize and communicate with traffic lights, perceive obstacles-most importantly pedestrians-operate and brake autonomously, and position itself precisely to the centimeter. The Future Bus can approach stops automatically and open its doors to let citizens in an out, drive through tunnels, includes a precise GPS navigation system, and can reach a top speed of 70 km/h (about 43 mph). For safety precautions, a human driver sits at the wheel to monitor the route, and may take control of the wheel at any moment if necessary.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

The interior and exterior design gives the Future Bus a unique, futuristic look, while offering passengers a state-of-the-art, comfortable ride. The exterior offers a ground-breaking design including an array of smooth contours, cutting edge door layouts, and sleek lines designed to both appeal to the aesthetic and to put the 'future' in Future Bus. The interior is designed with an open, relaxed layout made up of 3 zones based on how long the passenger plans to ride. Each zone is comprised of very modern, comfortable seating, and the ceiling lights have been arranged to resemble a leaf canopy. Passengers are also able to access information and entertainment through large monitors in the middle passenger department, and can even charge their smartphones on charging pads next to their seats.

As reported by The Verge, the Future Bus has already been put to the test as it completed a 30 km (about 12 miles) route through the Netherlands back in July, 2016. This route included challenging turns, tunnels, traffic lights, and pedestrians. The bus was successfully able to navigate itself flawlessly without the driver needing to turn the wheel, brake, or accelerate at any moment.

Source:  Diamler

Source: Diamler

According to Mashable, unlike the Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, in which Daimler plans to begin production in 2020, the company does not plan to produce Future Bus Prototypes. Instead, Daimler plans to use certain parts of the advanced technology and semi-autonomous system to implement into regular city buses for the future, as well as focusing on the improvement of its zero-emission production plans. So, it could be possible that Detroit and other major Michigan cities such as Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, may have automated public transportation in the future!


The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is a ground-breaking innovation built with safety features that far exceed what is humanly possible. With cameras and radar systems that can detect even the smallest motions during a route, and an autonomous driving system that can force itself to brake on a dime, it is hard to imagine any safety risks that can occur. However, it is imperative to note that buses, regardless if a human is driving or not, may prove a risk to citizens and may be prone to accidents. According to The Accident Data Center, over 55,000 people are injured by buses in the US per year. If you or anyone you know has been injured by a bus, car, or been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Michigan Leads Development of Smart Roadways

Michigan is looking to lead the nation in developing smart road technology that will allow intersection signals and construction zones to alert next generation vehicles about upcoming red lights, lane closures, and traffic areas ahead. According to The Detroit News, General Motors and Macomb County, Michigan have partnered up to begin testing smart road safety features that can tell future cars to begin braking when traffic lights are about to turn red. Michigan has also begun testing 'connected construction zones' on Interstate 75 in Oakland County that can alert cars with 'vehicle-infrastructure-capability' about upcoming lane closures. Vehicle-infrastructure-capability allows vehicles to communicate with roadways, construction zones and traffic signals through smart technology.

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These 'connected construction zones' operate by advanced-tech roadside bar codes that are able to communicate information from construction zones to oncoming vehicles. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. Reportedly, these roadside bar codes are intended to be the system that will navigate autonomous vehicles in the future. Michigan has already established 100 miles of connected roadways and plans to expand to 350 miles in the future. Automakers and auto suppliers alike in Southeast Michigan have already begun planning for this transition by testing autonomous vehicle technology on Michigan roadways.

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Citizens of Michigan who are interested in knowing what these road signals look like, should look out for bar codes signs with black and white 2D codes that have been implemented on I-75 in Oakland County. These signs appear to be QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones, however, they can only be read by test cars with vehicle-infrastructure intuition. 3M Company provided these signs for Michigan, and Tammy Meehan, global portfolio manager for 3M Connected Roads, explains that these signs contain pinpoint GPS navigation, can alert vehicles of upcoming construction zones, and can estimate the time it takes to drive through work zones. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. 

Outside the GM Tech Center in Warren, advanced technology has been implemented into traffic lights by Macomb County on Mound Road between 12 Mile Road and 13 Mile Road. These lights are able communicate with Cadillac CTS test sedans that possess vehicle-infrastructure capability. The Detroit News reports that the smart traffic signals and sensors calculate the driver’s speed and the time in which the traffic signal will turn red, to determine if the driver needs to begin braking. In such a case, a yellow light glows on the driver’s infotainment screen and their seat begins vibrating. This is intended to prevent the driver from running the red light or crashing into another vehicle.  The smart traffic signals work within a 1,000-foot radius.

Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive, stated that for the past five years Macomb's infrastructure department has been installing advanced sensors and cameras to develop smart highways. Hackel explains that the partnership with GM, in addition to the $13.5 million-dollar creation of the Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC) that opened in Mount Clemens in 2013, have been a part of the County’s ongoing infrastructure investments. COMTEC has allowed for the development of Michigan traffic-monitoring, weather-mapping, road-department cameras, and a video wall with 40 monitors.

Kirk Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, stated that Michigan continues to partner with automakers and suppliers for the research and development of autonomous vehicles and smart technology. Kirk claims that advanced vehicle-infrastructure communication could reduce 80% of car accident fatalities.

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While Michigan making great headway, it is not alone in its efforts to develop smart roadways. Other states, including Ohio, have begun testing and implementing connected roadways as well. Ohio has decided to invest $15 million into developing the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor using advanced fiber-optic cables and wireless sensors for connected roadway and autonomous vehicle testing. Ohio plans to expand connected roadways to I-270 and I-90 as well.

The smart technology innovation that Michiganders are experiencing before them will transform the way we mobilize, by making transportation far more efficient and safer. The ability for autonomous vehicles and connected highways to communicate may greatly reduce car accident fatalities in the future. Yet, it will still be some time before Michigan citizens are able to experience this transformation. In the meanwhile, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC will continue to update blog readers on the development of smart roadway technology and its effects on drivers in Michigan and across the country.


Whether you've been involved in an auto accident with with a driverless car or were struck by a negligent driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. for a free consultation. Our firm assists victims of car accidents in recouping any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law.

The Impact of Autonomous Cars on the US Economy

There has been continuous buzz about self-driving cars over the past few years, with successful tests and disastrous accidents alike, being reported in the news. There is no doubt that such a ground-breaking invention will change transportation norms throughout the United States, just as Henry Ford’s automobiles forever changed the way to get around the country.

In fact, Wired reports autonomous vehicles are expected to add $7 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 35 years, based on data from Intel and research company Strategy Analytics. This is no small number, considering just robotic cars alone could add $2 trillion to the nation's economy by 2050, not even taking into account the current jobs and businesses that will be affected financially. To put these numbers into perspective, $1 trillion could buy about 40 million new cars, according to Kiplinger. But what makes up this enormous number?

Michigan Self Driving Car Lawyer

Self-Driving Cars and Jobs

Autonomous cars are predicted to positively influence the economy in the coming years, but their impact will be spread unevenly across sectors. Companies like Google and GM who have invested in making this technology a reality, will see the most money. Then, for the average Joe, the industries that will likely see a rise in job demands include data analysis, IT, and mechanics. Just like our smart phones and credit cards, autonomous cars collect data on a driver's habits, which in turn creates jobs for humans who need to sort and analyze this data. Intel reports jobs in information technology (IT), though they will see a shift from actual discovery of information to the management of machines finding information, will almost double in intensity. Additionally, the number of miles driven is expected to rise, increasing the need for cars, self-driving or otherwise, to be repaired by mechanics. 

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On the other hand, there will also be a decline in jobs, especially for people working in the service industries. Jobs like food delivery and taxi services may no longer be needed with the use of self-driving cars. This brings into effect the concept that Intel and Strategy Analytics call "The Passenger Economy," an idea which places economic and societal value on pilotless vehicles. Essentially, why hire humans to do a job that cars can do on their own? While they profit either way, this is a question that companies like Uber will have to face when replacing human drivers with company vehicles. 

It should also be noted that self-driving cars may create jobs that are still unknown. After all, with new technologies come new jobs the market previously did not anticipate. On the flip side, new technologies could also make jobs that currently exist obsolete. No matter which sectors see an increase or decline in job security, the fact remains that the American economy will still receive an estimated $7 trillion economic boost (or even even bigger-no one can put an exact number on the future!) Just like the Model-T helped restructure city spaces and bring the suburbs into existence, autonomous vehicles have the ability to transform job markets. There are endless possibilities for economic reform.

Autonomous Car Regulations

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Though all the glory of creating thousands of new jobs and boosting the economy sounds appealing, it does not happen without the technology meeting all safety standards first. Which is why, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not counting their chickens before their eggs hatch. The NHTSA has released the Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles, a document which, "outlines best practices for the safe design, development and testing of automated vehicles prior to commercial sale or operation on public roads." Included in this document is a 15-point safety assessment that requires manufacturers to meet objectives such as operational design, post-crash response, privacy, and cybersecurity before their cars can go to market. Considering that 94% of automobile crashes are due to human error, there is definitely room for technology to advance driver safety. Hopefully, if all autonomous vehicle manufacturers can meet the standards set by the NHTSA, this will be a step in the right direction to saving lives. 

The Future of Self-Driving Cars

What does all this mean for people who are willing to give up their spot behind the wheel and let the car drive itself? (That is a scary thought for a lot of people!) Well, most people want more proof that these cars won't crash and will safely deliver them to their destination before they surrender the wheel. That is why companies who create autonomous car technology need to be regulated to ensure absolute safety in their products and so that consumers are not just paying for the newest trend in transportation. Put simply, this technology needs to save lives and be safer than the transportation methods we already have. Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute said to Consumer Reports that “there’s no way that we as a society would accept self-driving cars that cause the same number of fatalities as humans.” 

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In 2015, there were roughly 35,000 traffic deaths in the United States. Future autonomous vehicles must allow for more safety if they are to replace human drivers. People also need to remember that transportation technology takes years of planning before it can be used in everyday lives, and that for now, only people can drive cars. Testing allows room for development and improvement, but overall “we expect machines to be better than us,” as Pratt said.

Until it's proven that autonomous vehicles are safer than human-operated vehicles, humans need to be careful when driving on the road today. While we may one day be able to sleep while a car drives us around, we have to make sure that for now, we don't fall asleep behind the wheel! Sleepy driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving are bad human habits that can lead to serious injuries and death in the event of a car crash. By following the rules of the road and maintaining good driving habits, people can protect themselves from being involved in fatal car accidents. 

At the end of the day, it is impossible to plan the future or to predict how large of an impact autonomous vehicles will have on the economy or auto law. What we do know is that self-driving cars will add jobs, take away jobs, and, based on how well they are regulated, even save lives. 


Self-driving cars are growing closer to reality than we think due to the rapid development of technology. However, today, we still rely on people to drive vehicles, and as such, following the rules of the road is the best way to stay safe and to avoid motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been in involved in an auto accident, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Tesla Cars May Self-Drive Sleeping Owners in 2017

Autonomous vehicle technology isn't going anywhere. In fact, more and more companies are researching and testing self-driving technology. Back in May of 2015, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog introduced its readers to the Google Self-Driving Cars, which were a platoon of self-driving cars being tested on public roads in Mountain View, California. And just two weeks ago, we informed readers about sighting of GM's autonomous Chevy Bolt around San Francisco. High end sports cars, to affordable American car companies, to the company responsible for the world's most used search engine, everyone is getting into the autonomous car game. Last month, Elon Musk, the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), gave a TED Talk in which he discussed Tesla's goal for implementing self-driving technology. 

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In an exchange between Musk and TED owner Chris Anderson, Musk says, "I think we're still on track for being able to go cross-country from LA to New York by the end of the year, fully autonomous." Anderson seeks clarification by asking, "OK, so by the end of the year, you're saying, someone's going to sit in a Tesla without touching the steering wheel, tap in "New York," off it goes...Won't ever have to touch the wheel — by the end of 2017." Musk confidently tells Anderson, "Yeah. Essentially, November or December of this year, we should be able to go all the way from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey."

According to BGR, what makes Musk's statement so impressive is that the driver-less cross-country journey he thinks the Tesla vehicles will be capable of are not set to "a static route, which is to say that the Tesla vehicle will be able to adjust its route in real-time based on traffic patterns. What's more, Mush said that the vehicle would even be able to handle a change in destination on the fly." Musk says, "...certainly once you enter a highway, to go anywhere on the highway system in a given country. So it's not sort of limited to LA to New York. We could change it and make it Seattle-Florida, that day, in real time. So you were going from LA to New York. Now go from LA to Toronto."

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While Tesla's goal to "not have the driver touch the wheel by the end of 2017," is impressive, even more astonishing is Musk's ambition to allow drivers to "be able to buy one of your cars and literally just take the hands off the wheel and go to sleep and wake up and find that they've arrived," in two years time.

Musk made a counterpoint to his own idea by saying, "So the real trick of it is not how do you make it work say 99.9 percent of the time, because, like, if a car crashes one in a thousand times, then you're probably still not going to be comfortable falling asleep...but if you say it's perhaps — the car is unlikely to crash in a hundred lifetimes, or a thousand lifetimes, then people are like, OK, wow, if I were to live a thousand lives, I would still most likely never experience a crash, then that's probably OK."

Tesla Semi-truck

As if fully autonomous cars that drivers can sleep in weren't a tall enough order, Musk also plans to announce an electric Tesla Semi-truck in September, which he claims, "actually can out-torque any diesel semi." And if Tesla's autonomous technology is a success in their cars, perhaps like Otto, Musk will start testing autonomous semis as well, (if he hasn't already)!


While we soon may be able to fall asleep behind the wheel of a Tesla, falling asleep while operating a vehicle will likely result in a motor vehicle accident today. Though fully self-driving cars are in the near future, the world is currently still dependent on ordinary human controlled vehicles. As such, human error is still a cause for concern on roadways, as car accidents are possible. If you or someone you know has been involved in a collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

Ford Invests $150 Million In Velodyne

Driverless cars are a concept that many have been dreaming about for years. However, we are now in an age of technology where driverless car features are not only possible, but actually exist and are starting to gain steam with big time auto manufacturers like Ford and GM. In addition to some driverless features, companies like Ford are wanting to develop a completely autonomous car. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford is aiming to have such a car available by the year 2021.

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In an effort to work towards their goal of having a completely driverless car by 2021, Ford, along with web services company Baidu, recently invested $150 million in Velodyne. Velodyne is a Morgan Hill, California based company that was founded in 1984 which produces high-end audio systems, but it is now on the forefront of the driverless vehicle frontier. Velodyne received $150 million from Ford and Baidu to continue development and production of Lidar, which is the 3-D light-powered radar that helps self-driving cars see where they are going.

Mike Jellen, the company's president and COO, said the investment will help expand development and manufacturing operations and also speed the advancement of Lidar technology. "We ship Lidar today, we have thousands of them in the field, but what automakers are really looking for are longer-range sensors and higher-resolution sensors at a lower cost," Jellen said.

Until recently, Velodyne's Lidar systems cost about $8,000 — too high to be cost effective for an automaker trying to sell to individual customers. Later this year, Velodyne will begin producing a system that could cost as little as $500 for each unit, if a high enough volume is ordered. This is good news for Ford, because it means that their goal of trying to bring a completely driver-less car to market by 2021 is starting to look like a goal that can be reached. 


One concern for customers and manufacturers of driverless cars is the issue of how safe the technology of the autonomous car is, and whether or not these cars will be involved in more or less crashes than a normal automobile. Until autonomous cars become mainstream however, we won't know exactly how safe they are. In the meanwhile, drivers should be careful while operating human controlled vehicles on the road. If you or somebody you know has been injured in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Car accidents can cause a lot of stress which our attorneys hope to alleviate by working hard to help you. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

Autonomous Semi-Trucks Drive on Michigan Highway For First Time

Michigan Autonomous Car

For the first time ever, four autonomous semi-trucks were tested on Interstate 69 in Lapeer and St. Clair Counties in Michigan in July, 2016. The test was done by the U.S Army Tank Automotive Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) alongside the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). 

Paul Rogers, director of TARDEC, told MLive that the testing, which included tracking the response of the vehicles to commands, represented “an opportunity for the U.S Army to leverage the technology and capability within this state.” The testing is also helping set federal standards and expectations while government leaders continue to craft legislation to make the possibility of driverless cars a reality on the roadways.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called the event “the intersection of two wonderful initiatives we have going in the state to really talk the strengths of our state and the opportunities how we can help our country and the world...We’re moving forward on how we can deploy this is a safe fashion on our public roadways and bring this technology to bear to make Michigan a true leader,” Snyder said. Snyder also pointed out the progress being made at the University of Michigan’s MCity and the upcoming “Planet M” campaign. The growth of the driverless car industry will impact the Michigan economy as well. According to Lt. Governor Brian Calley the initiatives will employ approximately 100,000 residents and will allow Michigan to become a leader in the mobility industry outside of the auto industry. 

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Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development for the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, is excited about the possibilities of drawing the industry to the state. “We see opportunities for more research and development teams to be on the ground supporting that kind of activity,” Karcher said.

The obvious potential impact with the growth of driverless cars is increased safety. Kirk Steudle, Director of MDOT, said that autonomous technology can help cut down traffic deaths by 80%. MDOT has a goal of 350 miles worth of fiber optic lines being put in place by 2018, making Michigan the largest test bed in the United States for mobility research. 


While driverless cars may cut down on traffic accidents in the future, they are still too frequent on the road today. Injuries as minor as a few scratches or as severe as a closed head injury can change your day-to-day routine and your way of life. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will identify the help you are entitled too and will not rest until your case has been resolved. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Proposed State Bills Allow for Public Sale of Self-Driving Cars

It appears that the State of Michigan is ready to dive into the world of self-driving vehicles. The U.S. auto capital is making preparations for the arrival of autonomous cars by passing legislation to allow for public sales and operation. Currently there are existing state laws that only allows testing on these types of cars. 

Michigan State Bills for Public Sale of Self-Drive Cars

A package of bipartisan bills which would update 2013 laws to allow for sales and operation are in the works, the Detroit Free Press reports. Furthermore, Detroit based auto companies General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford would be authorized to run networks of on-demand self-driving vehicles. This piece of legislation is an effort from both the government and auto companies to reinvent themselves as “mobility companies”. Earlier this year, GM invested $500 million in Lyft and bought a start-up company that creates software for autonomous vehicles. 

“It’s coming. It’s coming fast. The technology is at a point where it will be incorporated into something that is mass-produced,” Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Kirk Steudle said. Michigan is not alone in having laws on the books related to self-driving vehicles. Nevada became the first state to authorize self-driving vehicles in 2011, and California, Florida, North Dakota, Tennessee and Utah followed suit. 

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Testing of self-driving vehicles is getting closer to home as well. In July, a convoy of self-driving Army trucks were tested along a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan’s “Thumb” region. To follow Michigan state law, someone will be required to be at the wheel at all times as a precaution. MDOT has been working closely with state legislators to develop the bills, which the state’s economic development officials are supportive of. “I see the autonomous vehicles being tested on the road every day. It’s weird, but it’s what’s going to move the auto industry into the (next century),” Senator Mike Kowall, the lead sponsor of the proposed bill said. Governor Rick Snyder is also “very supportive” of the proposal, according to a spokesman. 

Not everyone is 100% on board with the proposal which will begin to be considered for adoption later this summer. Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court is concerned that the auto companies are moving too fast and the necessary safety measures aren’t being put in place. “It’s foolhardy to rush into this without a plan just because it seems to be a way to stimulate jobs,” Court argued. Court also believes that there is a long way to go because “robots and humans don’t communicate.”

One of the Michigan bills that is being debated would end the requirement for a driver to be behind the wheel at all times, and another would provide funding to build a facility which would allow for testing of autonomous and wirelessly connected cars. The proposed facility would be located at the site of an abandoned GM plant that once produced World War II bombers. 


Traffic deaths in Michigan have seen an increase in the last year, as lower gas prices and a rebounding economy has led to more cars being on the road. Whether it is a trip to the super market or a road trip up north, drivers should always be focused on what's happening on the road. If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Car collisions may lead to physical, mental, and emotional damage. Our attorneys will work alongside you to get you the help you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Regulators Battle Advancements in Self-Driving Vehicles

One of the biggest questions facing the rise of the driverless car is “how safe is safe enough?” Government regulators and auto companies are working together to figure out the best way to create safety standards and regulations for driverless cars of different models and manufacturers. 

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Many believe the answer to the previously stated question, “how safe is safe enough?” will be, constantly flexible. This meas that the standards and regulations will be changing as the technology becomes more advanced. “Today everybody expects a regulation comes out and that’s what it is forever. That will not work,” Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said at a Telematics Update conference in Novi. Although the NHTSA will be releasing guidelines in the upcoming months that will serve as short-term rules of the road, Rosekind believes those will be changing quickly. 

Rosekind has admitted that the technology will change faster than regulator’s ability to make new rules, and that is one of the main challenges facing regulators. The Detroit Free Press reports that most vehicles that are testing for full autonomy (Level 4) are limited to testing grounds only, such as Mcity in Ann Arbor or other private test areas. One of the challenges to limited these types of self-driving vehicles to testing grounds is that a short drive around the track may not translate to a safe operating system for thousands of miles. 

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Level 2, or semi-autonomous, features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and forward collision avoidance has proved to be effective and safe, but the path to full autonomy is long and winding. Tesla has been at the forefront of self-driving technology, and they recently introduced an “Autopilot” feature which allows the driver to relinquish control of the vehicle. The Detroit Free Press however reported an incident involving a Tesla Model X which crashed into a commercial building in Irvine, California. The driver claims that the car accelerated on its own from its parking space, but Tesla stated that the vehicle logs showed the Autopilot feature was not active at the time of the crash. 

One of the questions James Fackler, Assistant Administrator in the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, and Jude Hurin, head of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, are discussing is whether self-driving vehicles should change the standards for who can obtain a driver’s license. “Michigan is taking the approach of ‘Let’s start slow.’  If there is someone behind the wheel, let’s make sure they are not technically unable to operate it. Some people outside the regulatory community say ‘Well, you’re standing in the way of future technology.’ But I want to make sure that if something does happen to this car that the person who is there is ready to take over,” Fackler explained. 


Motor vehicle accidents can be life changing events. Many victims begin to see their medical bills start to pile up, and they are too injured to work in order to pay those bills. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys understand the financial and emotional burden that is put on auto accident victims, and they will work alongside you to find relief. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

United Kingdom May Legalize Self-Driving Semi-Truck Platoon System

The United Kingdom may have exited the European Union, but they are about to dive head first into the world of autonomous vehicles. There’s just one obstacle however: getting the government to go along with it. 

A proposal has been made, which would clear the way for self-driving truck technology called “platooning.” Platooning refers to multiple trucks being connected by wireless technology, similar to Wi-Fi, and following a manned lead vehicle in a tight convoy, thereby saving fuel economy and potentially manpower according to Quartz. This system was tested in April 2016 when dozens of trucks drove thousands of kilometers across Europe.

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Approval of the platoon hinges upon the tweaking of Highway Code Rule 126, which states drivers must leave a two-second gap between their vehicle and the vehicle in front as a way to prevent rear ending a car. Quartz reports that the trucks which were tested in the April trials by automakers Volvo and Scania, were driven in platoons with gaps of less than one second between them. The benefit of these platoons is the reduction of “thinking distance” because the trucks further back in the convoy can react immediately to speed changes with the leading vehicle. Logic follows that the tighter the platoon, the less fuel is used and the less carbon is put into the air. 

“There is an opportunity to reduce the separation distance required between these vehicles, and hence to maximize the efficiency gains through reduced aerodynamic drag,” the government’s Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles said in a statement. 

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Introducing these platoons aren’t the only technology-related changes the United Kingdom is exploring. The country wants to change laws which "would allow other technologies that are commercially available such as automated remote-control parking, and motorway assistance that would allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel temporarily." 


There are around 400,000 accidents involving semi-trucks annually in the United States. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident with an eighteen wheeler, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Collisions with large vehicles of any kind may result in severe and irreversible damage, leaving victims in need of medical attention and a way to pay to their bills. Our attorneys will fight to get you the help and answers you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Volvo Projects Completely Autonomous Cars by 2020

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Volvo is hoping to put its money where its mouth is, in the very near future. The Swedish car manufacturer told Tech Insider its autonomous systems will have the capabilities and safety features to be able to operate without driver supervision by the year 2020. This prediction differs from those of many other auto companies who have promised semi-autonomous vehicles (cars in which the driver still needs to pay attention to the road), in the same time frame. 

Volvo is using Nvidia’s GPU-based “Deep-Learning” system with its “DriveMe” program, which will be launched in London, Gothenburg, Sweden, and a handful of cities in China, by 2017. Families who wish to participate in the program will be asked to drive the Volvos in varying road and traffic conditions, as well as different terrains. During their drive, the Deep-Learning system will be able to capture data and sync it with the software, allowing the vehicle to learn and become smarter the more it drives. Drivers will need to supervise the driving during the test runs, but it will be a major step towards having completely autonomous vehicles. 

“What is unique with DriveMe, is that we are not only building a concept car or doing demos, we are really doing research to help us understand how we can bring self-driving cars to the real world, to public roads with ordinary customers behind the wheel,” Erik Coelingh, Senior Technical Leader for Safety and Driver Support Technologies told Digital Trends, “...by accomplishing that objective, we will learn about the reality of self-driving cars, that it’s not just a fantasy. We will learn about technology, we will learn about the human factors, and how self-driving cars will impact society.” 

Volvo DriveMe Autonomous Car

According to Volvo, their projections show that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars. The car company also believes advantages of self-driving cars will be in the areas of safety, congestion, pollution, and time-savings. “Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety. The sooner (self-driving) cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved,” Volvo CEO and President Hakan Samuelsson said. 

Unfortunately, for those living in the United States Volvo has stated that there are no plans at this time to include road testing in America due to the different laws and guidelines in the 50 states, which make it near impossible to complete thorough testing. 


Self-Driving cars are well on their way to becoming a mainstay in everyday transportation. In the meantime, drivers are at risk of being injured in an auto accident every time they get behind the wheel. If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Injuries from these accidents can range from bruises to head injuries, and they may not even present themselves immediately following the crash. Our attorneys will work with you to identify the appropriate help you may need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Top 5 Obstacles for Self-Driving Cars

While there are many safety benefits, autonomous vehicles have not yet been perfected. Sure they don’t drive drunk or send text messages while driving on the expressway, but they still have their shortcomings. Neal Boudette of The New York Times recently reviewed the Top 5 things that are giving self-driving cars issues while they continue to develop:

1) Unpredictable Human Error Accidents

While self-driving cars use computer algorithms in order to obey the rules of the road and other basic driving functions, they have no control over how other drivers behave. What is a self-driving car to do when a manually driven car goes 20 miles per hour over the speed limit or is barreling down a one-way street going the wrong direction? Boudette writes, “One solution is to equip cars with transponders that communicate their position, speed and direction to other vehicles. This is known as vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and it is similar to how airplanes avoid each other in the air.” 

2) Bad Weather Accidents

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Self-driving cars can easily navigate Michigan roads during the summer months, but what happens when snow, ice and fog start to factor into dangerous road conditions? Autonomous vehicles utilize cameras that track lines on the pavement in order to keep the vehicle in its lane, but that becomes a problem when snow is covering the ground. As Boudette points out, a large puddle cased by a heavy rainstorm may look like blacktop to the car’s sensors. “In reports that Google and others have filed with California authorities about their on-road tests of autonomous cars, weather was a prime cause of system failures after which human drivers had to take back control,” Boudette reports. 

 

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3) Detour Auto Accidents

 As road conditions and road repairs develop, maps can become out of date quickly. This can become an obstacle for self-driving vehicles such as Google’s cars which “rely heavily on highly detailed three-dimensional maps- far more detailed than those in Google maps- that communicate the location of intersections, stop signs, on-ramps and building with the cars’ computer systems.”

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4) It Might Be a Puddle. Or Not. 

Self-Driving cars struggle to differentiate between obstacles in the road such as puddles, potholes or an oil spot. Using their radar, lasers and HD cameras to scan the roads, the vehicle can only scan what is on the road surface, not what’s below. Boudette recalled a recent ride he took in a self-driving car when the vehicle unexpectedly slowed down because it was confused by a dark area on the road which turned out to just be a shadow from an overpass. 

“Google and other companies hope more precise laser-based sensors, known as lidar, and other technology will make it easier for driverless cars to spot potholes-as opposed to shadows-and avoid them. Another possible solution: smart roadways that communicate with automated vehicles and warn them of hazards ahead like traffic accidents and potholes,” Boudette explained. 

 

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5) Making Tough Decisions 

Perhaps the most complicated of them all, self-driving vehicles may be forced to make tough and complicated ethical driving decisions. Boudette gives an example: “In the midst of busy traffic, a ball bounces into the road, pursued by two running children. If a self-driving car’s only options are to hit the children or veer right and strike a telephone pole, potentially injuring or killing the car’s occupants, what does it do?” For now, there is no concrete answer to this dilemma. 


While we wait for self-driving cars to work out the kinks, we still need to pay attention to human drivers who struggle to make the right decisions while on the road. If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Work with a lawyer who is experienced in handing accidents of all sizes.  Our legal team will work alongside you to identify your area of needs and get you the appropriate help. Call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Toyota & The University Of Michigan Autonomous Car Collaboration

Toyota Autonomous Car

Bloomberg Technology reported that the Toyota Motor Company will be collaborating with the University of Michigan to focus on autonomous vehicles. The initiative has been sparking among all automakers to try and curb the some 1.2 million deaths per year in auto accidents, worldwide. This will be the company's third center focusing on the technology, all of which are a part of their initial $1 billion investment in autonomous technology. The other two centers are in Palo Alto, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both of these centers are very close to very influential colleges, Stanford University in California, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard College in Massachusetts. With the University of Michigan added to that prestigious list, Toyota will be working in close quarters with some of the best and brightest students in the country.

This joint venture is only one of many ways in which automobile manufacturers are attempting to gauge the waters of other industries. Companies like General Motors have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in ride sharing companies like Lyft. General Motors also started a new ride-sharing app called Maven recently, offering a cheap alternative to Zip Car in major cities to increase brand awareness. Automobile companies are thinking differently and citizens are reaping the benefits.

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In fact, the University of Michigan center is far from the first of its kind in the area. General Motors and Ford both have plans for autonomous vehicle centers in the Metro Detroit area. MCity, the University of Michigan’s autonomous vehicle testing area, has been operational since July. The part of the country that once made almost every car which was produced in the world is now leading the research going into self driving cars. This technology could be paramount for preventing lives lost to automobile accidents. Automobile technology has been erupting from the motor city for over a century and it does not appear to be slowing down today. The safety benefits that research like this will bring is yet to be seen, but one can imagine it will be almost as huge as the invention of the automobile itself.

Autonomous car technology may be on the way, but it has not quite arrived yet, and accidents still happen. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, call the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of personal injury cases. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.