Last Week in Car Safety News – the week ending 29 November

Bringing you the news that matter in Car Safety is a priority. Be aware of the issues that matter to you, your health and your loved ones in connection to vehicle safety. From scandals, recalls and events, this column gives you a weekly wrap up of the most pressing news issues of the last week.

Google’s Self-Driving Car has a new Patent

Google Car PatentAlthough autonomous driving cars are all the rage at the moment, one has been in development for years; Google’s Self Driving Car. However this past week, another patent was applied for in regards to pedestrian communication. Finally someone has realized that it is quite hard for an autonomous car to wave pedestrians through at crosswalks or stop signs without some way of communicating with them.

As a result Google has applied for a patent that will aid its self-driving car in communicating with pedestrians. The patent specifically mentions possible screens on the side panels of the car or on the bonnet would show in large letters “stop” or “safe to cross.” These simple messages could be accompanied by a speaker system to aid in the communication allowing pedestrians to know what the vehicle was doing. The patent was applied for in 2012, but was just granted. There is speculation that a physical hand or head may be added to aid in communication.

Porsche sued over vehicle safety by Paul Walker’s Father

Paul WalkerPaul Walker’s father and estate executor is suing Porsche for basic safety features missing from the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that he and a friend died in as a result of excessive speed according to an accident investigation. However, his father states, notwithstanding the speeding issue, these defects directly caused the fatalities in the accident.

He contends the fact that the car did not include stability control, side door reinforcements, and a breakaway fuel line all contributed to the severity of the accident and in turn caused the fatalities. The car involved in the accident was determined to be travelling at 80-90mph and hit three trees before stopping and caught fire as a result. Porsche has responded to Paul Walker’s sisters’ lawsuit from September, stating that the driver assumed all responsibility for the vehicle and its known lack of safety features and continued to put himself in harm’s way by speeding excessively. However, the fact that a high-end sports car has less safety features than a compact family sedan is cause for concern for any driver.

60% of Consumers want a Self-Driving Car

Google CarDrivers around the globe appear set to ride in self-driving cars as over 60% in a recent survey were favorable of the idea of riding in one. In the US the number is only 52%, but still a majority would be willing to experience self-driving cars. According to safety experts, done properly, autonomous vehicles could reduce car accidents by as much as 80% worldwide. Almost 45% of respondents mentioned parking as the single best advantage of a self-driving vehicle, making it more wanted than the potential safety of the vehicle. As fleets of self-driving taxies are expected to hit roadways in as little as 15 years, consumers may get their wish sooner rather than later.

These are biggest stories in car safety for the week ending 29 November 2015.

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