Driverless Car: Good or Bad?

Camille L. - LLI Cincinnati

When driverless cars crash, who is responsible to pay the damages? That is the issue that has been raised in the making of autonomous vehicles. People have not figured out if it will be the manufacturing companies problem or the insurance companies. It always depends on the situation but if automatic self -driving cars come into play in our daily life, then it could become a common topic in court if there is not a precedent set in legislation as soon as possible.

There are many good things to come about an autonomous vehicle like reducing accidents, reducing pollution, shorter commute times, being able to multitask, and productivity.

But, are these advantages worth lives that could be lost because of a simple software malfunction? 

According to the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, “Motor vehicle accidents claimed over 33,000 lives in the United States in 2012-a number corresponding to an average of over 90 fatalities every day.” The NHTSA definition of automation level two also states that the ‘driver is still responsible for monitoring the roadway and safe operation and is expected to be available for control at all times and on short notice.’" In the excerpt it tell us that we would still have to be paying attention to the road and be ready take control of the car in need be.

Although introducing self driving cars into the public world could decrease this number tremendously, there are many risky disadvantages that come with this new technology. For instance, the cars software could be hacked and somebody could set it to crash. If someone has a personal grudge against you and they are smart enough then they could hack into your cars’ software and cause an accident. This isn't just personal though, it could also be done in a terrorist way, if somebody very important was in a driverless car. People are getting smarter each generation, so this is only getting easier for them.

Also, when you get into a car accident you don't know who will be liable, the company or yourself. There could be malfunctioning in the car in which the manufacturer would most likely be responsible for the damages. The UK government has started to look into the issue of the law, “According to the Bill, insurers will be default liable for death, personal injury or damages to certain property which stem from accidents by ‘automated vehicles’ in self-driving mode where the vehicle in insured at the time of the accident.” It seems the vehicle must have insurance for the insurance company to be liable. “Insurers would not be liable for damages stemming from accidents caused by ‘automated vehicles’ if the vehicle has not been insured.” Liability is one the main concerns with this car. 

There are many questions and concerns that people have that should be answered and fixed right away. People are worried about if an automated car breaks down it would be very expensive to be fixed. The issue of if the computer software has been made water proof yet and if it rains really hard what will happen? Will the car just shut down? Will there be an electrical malfunction and a passenger be electrocuted? The world is asking lots of questions shown in USA Today, “If cars will partial self-driving tech crash, who is responsible? If an autonomous or driver-assisted car breaks the law, does the driver get a citation? But if it's in autonomous mode, where would the citation go? What does is mean to be in control? Can you still be cited for DUI? Will autonomous car divers get special licenses? Will autonomous cars be specially marked, or get special license plates?”  
As many great things about a self-driving car as there are, there is always some bad that comes with the good. As you can see, not many people are really cooperating with this new technology.