The Self-Driving Future: Part 4

So I am driving down the highway in my self driving car and the driver in the next lane pulls a bonehead lane change. We crash. Who is liable?

Of course the self driving car should be smart enough to avoid bonehead moves by other drivers? But how smart? What will the standard be?

On the one hand, the self driving car would probably have a camera recording everything that happens around it, and would be able to show the cops and insurance company the reckless and probably illegal move the other car made that ‘could not be avoided’.

On the other hand, the manual driver might say, “Look, maybe it was an idiot move, but people make idiot moves all the time – that’s part of driving. An alert driver would have been able to avoid an accident and your self driving car is obviously not as good as an alert manual driver.” Sue the manufacturer.

Inventively there will be horror stories in the press about people with unexpected hits on their insurance due to self-driving crashes. Eventually, the government, the lawyers and the insurance companies will work it out. But until they do, look for many folks to be reluctant to turn on the autopilot.

 

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