This week’s article is the second in my series on current and proposed regulation for autonomous and robot vehicles (AV). As I outlined last week, several agencies are moving forward with regulations — or in the case of the Federal Government, guidelines — designed to deal with this emerging technology, which is moving faster than the ability to regulate it. Let’s look at why this is so dangerous.
This week’s column covers recent developments in laws and regulations concerning automated vehicles, which you may know as “driverless cars” or “robot cars.”
The area of Automated Vehicle (AV) law and regulation is rapidly evolving. It is a complex process which involves elected legislative bodies, regulatory bodies, and vehicle manufacturers. There are countless human lives and billions, if not trillions, of dollars at stake as this technology develops and these vehicles enter our transportation infrastructure.
This week’s question comes from Adrian H. in San Francisco who asks: “I read something in the paper about self-driving vehicles the other day. Did the government recently state that these cars can be operated without someone being able to take control in an emergency? What does that mean: will we be seeing cars on the road without someone in the driver’s seat?”
In a collision caused by a self-driving car, is the passenger, car owner, manufacturer liable? Or are all three legally responsible. The calculus of duty is uncertain, and this issue lies at the heart of policy, legislative, and regulatory discussions of autonomous vehicles. Chris Dolan explored these issues in an article published in the February 2016 issue of Trial magazine.
Today’s question comes from Wallace D. in Knob Hill who asks: “I read your article on the driverless vehicle. Isn’t this just sci-fi? Will they ever actually hit the market and if they do, what will they look like and who will be responsible if there is a crash?
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011 America’s 212 million licensed drivers crashed over 5.3 million times, injured 2.2 million people and killed another 32,367. Road traffic injuries have become the leading killer of young people aged 15 to 29. According to a World Health Organization Report, almost 1.3 million people die each year on the world’s roads making this the ninth leading cause of death, globally.
Worldwide, road crashes cause between 20 million and 50 million non-fatal injuries every year.
This week’s question comes from Terry C. from San Francisco “is it true that somebody hacked into a regular car and took over control from the driver. Who is responsible if that happens and someone is injured or killed?”