One of the biggest concerns of autonomous vehicles is the legality of personal injury and damage to property. According to Michigan Telecommunications and Law Review, linked here, who is responsible in the event of an accident? Is it the programming, manufacturer, or consumer? There are no prior laws established to use as a foundation for autonomous vehicles.
This is a whole new terrority in creating laws and policies. In one perspective, it can be reasonable to blame a programmer for an autonomous vehicle that erroneously strikes another vehicle in transport. What if it was a hardware issue? Then maybe we can place the responsibility on the manufacturer for failing to conduct thorough inspections, and testing prior to delivery of a product.
Finally, we could blame the consumer, who is responsible for taking full control, instantly if a vehicle is unable to make a logical and safe decision.
The author of the article has a valid point, which is that the legal issues are far much slower to develop than the technology of autonomous vehicles. Regulators like the National Highway Tranportation and Safety Administration must make this a top priority. In a matter of a few years, we’ll begin to see fully autonomous vehicles on the roadways, and insurance companies need laws to place liability for accident settlements. Our court systems are already significantly delayed…
So lets get these Laws for Autopilot Go!