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Posted on 03-26-2017

Autonomous Uber Car Involved In Roll Over Crash

As a Baltimore Chiropractor, I spend the majority of my day while in my two Baltimore chiropractic clinics treating patients that have headaches, neck pain, and back pain. About half of our patients have been involved in Baltimore auto accidents and have suffered from whiplash. The other half of our patients are athletes, couch potatoes, and weekend warriors who sprain and strain their spine and are just looking for short term relief care so they can resume their lives quickly and pain free. We are happy to provide whatever level of care that our patients need.

One of the subjects that I like to follow in current events is the technology surrounding autonomous vehicles. I do forsee a day and probably within my working lifetime that there will be fewer (if any) human drivers on the road and that all non-commercial motor vehicles will be controlled by on board computers. Right now most of the major technology companies such as google, tesla, uber, and apple are all trying to stake their claim to the autonomous driving world so I see it as a foregone conclusion. Technological advancement, however, is not without its draw backs and "growing pains." Just this past week in Tempe, Arizona an autonomous driving uber was involved in an auto accident with a human driver and it rolled over following the impact.

It's a pretty sensational headline because naturally you might think that the autonomous uber vehicle caused the crash, but that wasn't the case. The uber vehicle reportedly had an operator behind the wheel but was in autonomous driving mode at the time of the crash. There were no passengers in the uber and there were no reported injuries at the scene. According to police the uber was a Volvo XC90 that was hit and rolled over when another vehicle failed to properly yield at an intersection.

As a result of the crash uber has temporarily suspended the operation of all autonomous vehicles in Arizona as they gather data. Uber also temporarily suspended self driving vehicles in Pittsburgh and San Francisco for the day and are considering doing so longer.

While I do only see this as a short blip on the radar for uber and other companies with autonomous driving vehicles, it does bring to light the complexity of driving, especially when there will undoubtedly be a mix of autonomous and human driving vehicles sharing the road. Humans sharing the road with other human drivers leads to hundreds of thousands of injuries a year in the United States and humans sharing the road with autonomous drivers is already leading to motor vehicle collisions. Until we can get to the time and place where ONLY autonomous drivers are operating cars on the road, I foresee there being many more collisions (but certainly at a rate that is less than when only humans operate vehicles.) I am not sure how engineers can account for all of the complexities of operating cars in real time to prevent all collisions and injuries.

I do not think that uber has a plan to release autonomous driving vehicles in Baltimore any time soon. But when they do my staff and I are happy to take care of any uber-induced Baltimore auto accident injuries.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a motor vehicle collision in Baltimore, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We now have two convenient and accessible locations to better serve your injury treatment needs.

Dr. Gulitz

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