Google has been developing its autonomous (driverless) car for years. While its vehicle’s only accidents have been at the hands of drivers using the cars in manual mode, those accidents have outlined a major issue — who is at fault when an accident does occur in auto-drive mode?
The few cases that have come in front of a judge have been largely contested as lawmakers appeared to flip a coin in determining precedents for the issues surrounding liability.
Some states are attempting to act before driverless cars become a reality on our roadways. For example, in California and Florida bills have already been passed that require the Registries of Motor Vehicles to come up with rules of the road for autonomous vehicles over the next one to two years.
Unfortunately car manufacturers still do not know what those rules will be, which in turn could lead to a stalemate in developing the vehicles. If car manufacturers believe they could be held responsible for driverless car accidents they may hesitate in developing the vehicles, regardless of safety records for prototype vehicles.
Driveless vehicles are largely viewed as the future of the automotive industry and it is that fact that has led auto manufacturers to spend a considerable amount of money to fight against possible liability laws.
Driveless car records have shown that they can effectively lower the total number of accidents on our roadways, while easing traffic congestion through more consistent driving. It is those accidents and road way congestion promises that could lead to laws on the state level that help out auto manufacturers over the liability issue. Fixing congested roads and adding new roadways to deal with ineffective drivers is expensive and driveless vehicles could ease those costs.
Google has promised that its driverless vehicles are the future of the automobile industry, that future unfortunately may be decided at the state and federal level.
[Image via androidheadlines]