The recent accidents involving self-driving cars have not dampened the optimism of proponents of this exciting feat of engineering. Driverless motor vehicles promise a future of safer highways and fewer car accidents in Texas and across the country. However, it may take a while for legislation and public opinion to catch up with technology.
Using sensors like radar, ultrasound, cameras and lasers, the new cars are able to interpret the situations around them and adapt accordingly. Of course, there are countless variables in a typical drive, and programming algorithms for all of them is a challenge for engineers. The goal is that by reacting without human emotion or distraction, autonomous cars may radically change the way the world drives.
Still, people may have questions about the legal ramifications of an accident involving a self-driving car. Some say the new technology will simply require a reinterpretation of existing laws. It may be likely that car manufacturers will bear the brunt of any civil lawsuits stemming from driverless car accidents since the technology itself, instead of human error, will be called into question. Manufacturers are ready to accept responsibility when autonomous car malfunctions cause accidents, which is not so different from the liability they already accept for defective vehicles.
This new technology may open up many opportunities for the elderly, the young and those who previously were physically unable to drive. The hope is that autonomous cars slow the pace of highway travel in Texas and beyond, and lower rates of injuries and deaths due to car accidents. New laws may be slow to keep up with motor vehicle advancements, but some predict that the establishment of policies, both at the local and federal level, will happen little by little as each accident or incident demands.
Source: vocativ.com, "If A Self-Driving Car Gets Into An Accident, Who Is To Blame?", Alexandra Ossolajun, June 28, 2016