The deployment of autonomous cars in countries where the law authorizes them always raises the question of liability in the event of an accident. Especially when these types of vehicles already today generate problems and incidents wherever they circulate.
As distant as it may seem, new advances are being made every day in autonomous driving. The advancement of so-called ADAS assistants – which many cars already integrate – as well as an interconnected road infrastructure will allow cars to drive themselves in the future, without the intervention of a human being.
And while there is still time for this type of car to be a constant on the streets and highways of the world, there are already examples circulating, not without controversy. We are referring to the robotaxis of Cruise (General Motors) and Waymo (Google), which operate in San Francisco, California (United States), a city that has become the testing ground par excellence for autonomous driving.
Well, it turns out that self-driving cars have become a headache for citizens, due to their constant malfunctions and safety issues, which have caused incidents of all kinds. As a result, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended Cruise’s licenses.
A suspension which comes after the alarming accident in which a company robotaxi was involved on October 2. Then it happened that a car driven by a human hit a pedestrian and threw her into the path of a driverless cruise unit, which not only ran over her, but also dragged her onto a twenty feet.
As we see, in addition to causing traffic problems, self-driving cars have also been involved in road accidents. This then raises the question of who takes responsibility for a vehicle of this type in the event of an accident.
For the United Kingdom, for example, which will soon pass the law authorizing autonomous cars, the answer is clear. The person responsible will be the vehicle manufacturer or its operator, provided that these cars are in autonomous driving mode.
The bill aims to ensure that there is clear legal accountability for who or what organization is responsible in the event of an accident involving an autonomous vehicle, or in risky situations like those that often arise in San Francisco.
Businesses will have to comply with safety requirements from the moment a vehicle is put on UK roads or face sanctions and penalties if they fail to do so. These will include fines, the obligation to adopt corrective measures and suspension of operation. In serious cases, criminal sanctions will even be applied.
In practice, this means that a human driver will not be responsible for accidents related to driving when the vehicle is in autonomous mode. Drivers, on the other hand, will continue to be responsible when driving, as well as for other aspects besides driving, such as insurance and up-to-date technical inspection of the car.
The decision has been welcomed by insurers, who stress that it will reassure potential buyers. “For insurers, this also provides crucial clarity when establishing liability in cases of autonomous driving,” he said. Reuters Tara Foley, head of UK and Ireland operations at global insurer AXA.
This distinction could set a precedent on a global scale, where liability in the event of an accident remains unclear in many countries.
For Alberto Escobar, mobility director of the Automobile Club of Chile and member of the global commission working on future legislation for level 5 autonomous cars: “the culprit of an accident, for example, could be the manufacturer automobile, but also the Internet service provider, the “driver” of the car or the driver of another vehicle, bearing in mind that during the transition period cars with different levels of autonomy will coexist. “
He also believes that “the type of accident will be determined not only by the vehicles involved, but also by circumstances such as, for example, sabotage or a power outage or a failure of the 5G internet provider. On the other hand, today autonomous cars have very poor eyesight, they confuse ponds with a hole for example, or they are not aggressive enough to enter a roundabout, or they confuse birds with people, it That is to say, we are still very late. “
Exeed is one of the brands currently carrying out autonomous driving tests, anticipating a future where this type of car will be the norm. Thanks to the authorization of the Chinese city of Wuhu to carry out tests in a real environment, the Exlantix ES accumulates the kilometers traveled daily without human intervention, having to react to human errors produced by other cars in daily traffic.
The above will prepare for remote updating of LIDAR radars, high-resolution cameras and other systems equipped in production models, thereby extending their operating range and further enriching added value what driving automation represents when it contributes to safety.
“Today, the greatest risk of causing a problem or accident comes from external factors such as pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles, who are generally most at risk. The objective of this technology is to reduce the majority of risk exposure rates. This is why our autonomous driving system does not rely solely on reacting to a stimulus, but rather uses a learning system, applying artificial intelligence to anticipate the maneuvers of other drivers and be able to enjoy a 100% driving experience. safe and with the best level of performance,” says Exeed Chile, represented by Astara.