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Automakers use virtual pedestrians to test autonomous cars

Several automakers are racing to get their autonomous vehicles on roadways in Iowa and around the world by 2020. However, a series of deadly accidents involving self-driving vehicles in recent months has profoundly shaken public confidence in the technology. As a result, manufacturers are stepping up their testing techniques to bring autonomous technology up to speed and ensure public safety.

For instance, Swedish automaker Volvo is using computerized "virtual humans" on a private track to test its autonomous car's ability to detect pedestrians. The test is a direct response to the March 2018 incident in which a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a woman as she crossed an Arizona street. According to experts, the accident shook up the industry and caused engineers to take a closer look at their testing procedures.

Self-driving trucks are also being tested, but it's an even more difficult process because of their size and weight. As a result, most truck testing is relegated to areas that have very few humans, such as enclosed warehouses, mines and harbors. For example, truck and bus manufacturer Scania is currently testing a self-driving truck at a Rio Tinto mine in Australia. Meanwhile, the same model is being put through its paces through simulations on a private track in Sweden. The company that operates the track, AstaZero, has reportedly negotiated partnerships with testing grounds and universities in Singapore, South Korea and the United States to obtain data about local traffic, roads and human behavior. This is important because drivers and pedestrians from different areas of the world behave differently in various traffic scenarios.

Victims of car accidents could be owed compensation for medical costs and other losses. A personal injury lawyer could help a victim prepare his or her claim and negotiate a fair settlement.

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