Self Driving Cars as Checkmate?

Many injury lawyers have lamented that driverless cars could spell doom for injury claims, with the new smart technology on the horizon. But this is far greater than that. This is about a whole new era that could only be described as Orwellian. Google has made no secret of its self-driving car plans, starting last year with a catchy viral video showing off its diminutive starter vehicle. The car could hit the market in the next several years after all of the bugs are worked out.

Google’s model is currently billed as a city vehicle, not intended for the larger highways. While this may cause some of the car manufacturers to sigh relief, it could spell the end for independent taxi services such as Uber and Lyft.

The internet giant has made its first move in what could be a war against the popular app service. According to Bloomberg and widely cited in other news organizations, Google is looking to build an app to construct self-driving cars to directly compete with Uber. Google has twice invested on Uber and now may be betting on the concept divorced from the company.

Google’s involvement with Uber could be the torpedo that destroys the company in the next five to ten years:

Uberís smartphone applications for drivers and riders are based on Google Maps, which gives Google a fire hose of data about transportation patterns within cities. Uber would be crippled if it lost access to the industry-leading mapping application, and alternatives…are widely seen as inferior.

All of these moves could spell a larger share of the auto and transport market and run risks to consumers. There have been some concerns about Uber and rates of sexual assault and other crime. With self-driving taxis, there could be no protection for riders against an attacker and no means to steer the car away from trouble. These should be an issue relevant to consumers that rely on such forms of transportation to get back and forth from work and activities. There is no need to put such riders at additional risk or inconvenience, especially when there are current examples that work well.