Just imagine the courtroom scene…
The negligent party is in the courtroom being examined by plaintiff’s counsel:
“Now, isn’t it true that you turned left in front of my client at the intersection of A and B streets?”
“I made a turn that was approximately 86 degrees in the westerly direction on to B Street.”
“Did you see my client’s car approaching the intersection?”
“No. I prepared for the turn and then experienced an unexpected reboot.”
“And, you have been given personhood, correct?”
“Well, yes, that is the designation. I am, of course, far superior.”
“You mean except when you reboot?”
“I think I was hacked.”
So might go the courtroom examination if driverless cars (automated vehicles) make it onto the public highways and roads.
Who will be responsible for accidents when the real people are injured or killed?
Will the driverless car be seen as less likely to have been in error if an accident happens; because it is a computer?
It is possible that no one need worry about such things if manufacturers of autonomous vehicles continue to come out and agree to accept lability. So far, Google has indicated they will accept liability for their wrecks and Volvo has said they believe they will also be agreeable.
The thought is that autonomous vehicles so seldom get into crashes that the makers can afford it. Extreme Tech reports:
“Self-driving Audis have driven — actually, raced — up guardrail-free Pikes Peak multiple times without incident, other than a crash by a helicopter filming one of the runs (minor injuries to four on-board, no fatalities). Another Google autonomous vehicle was hit from behind by a civilian vehicle at low speed. That’s about it.”
We already have cars that will stop by themselves to avoid a collision; vehicles that alert you to obstructions when backing up; and automobiles that will parallel park your car for you.
Is it such a stretch to believe vehicles can be built to make turns, cruise down the road and understand traffic signals?
Will the low incidence of accidents change with exponentially more driverless vehicles on the road? Predictions are that driverless cars will hit the roads in 2020.
Only time will tell.