Not only will fully autonomous vehicles, when introduced, need drivers to recalibrate their way of thinking, but the new technologies will also drastically alter how emergency responders deal with accidents.
In a bid to clarify how first responders can deal with accidents of self-driving cars, Waymo has published a series of guidelines to get the ball rolling.
Waymo says that the first point of call for responders dealing with an autonomous vehicle accident is to call a special 24-hour hotline number. This number can be reached by phone or by pressing the Live Help button found on the ceiling of Waymo’s self-driving vehicles. A trained specialist will then be able to guide anyone involved through what to do.
Engadget also reports that Waymo’s guide lists many of its vehicles key parts as well as how to disable the self-driving mode. Additionally, responders are informed of how to fully switch off the vehicle and how to disable all electric power by cutting the 12 V battery supply. Towing an autonomous vehicle from Waymo is much the same as towing an ICE-powered vehicle.
While these guidelines may prove useful if any of Waymo’s autonomous cars are involved in accidents, we can’t help but think that automakers may employ different procedures. For example, future autonomous vehicles from the likes of BMW or Honda may have different methods of disabling self-driving functions, turning the vehicle off entirely and disabling any hazardous electrical components. If that’s the case, then it could potentially confuse first responders and others.
For its part, Waymo says it will work closely with public safety officials and first responders to properly educate them about its self-driving vehicles.