This year, California will allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Driverless cars will log thousands of miles this year – an Audi A7 already made a safe 550-mile trip from Silicon Valley to the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. However, it’s only a matter of time before a driverless car gets into a fender bender.
A driverless car probably won’t cause the accident. It could easily be an inattentive driver rear ending the driverless car at an intersection. But as soon as that first incident occurs, the ensuing insurance claim and potential lawsuit will create ripples across multiple industries.
When a human is not making driving decisions, who is really at fault? The manufacturer of the car? The manufacturer of the components in the car that process the data? The programmers who wrote the code? The driver who put their faith in the car and did not intervene in time? Should auto insurance policies become product liability policies?
This event will have broad implications, as drones, robots, sensor networks and other “human-less” technologies open up new areas of risk (and insurance) that today’s companies are not equipped to handle.
FK – I can’t imagine allowing the computers we have now being allowed to make all the multitude of decisions necessary in every situation. This stuff might be worthwhile on the interstate in a special lane. But it will turn driving into hell as every car on the road is forced to stick to posted speed limits and to ‘recommendations’ for curves, etc. What a nightmare this may be if the bureaucrats are allowed to control it.
One plus may be that old people might actually move at the speed limit instead of mindlessly expecting everyone else to be stuck behind them for miles on end.