With the automotive world heading towards autonomous tech, it is more or less certain that in the future our roads will be filled with driverless cars. While that sounds all great, researchers have stumbled upon a very valid question. Who will be held responsible when two autonomous cars are involved in an accident?
Well, manufacturers claim that autonomous cars colliding is not possible, on paper. In real world conditions, things are different. It will take time to take all possibilities into consideration and thus, driverless car accidents is quite a possibility.
The International Vienna Convention on Road Traffic states that the responsibility rests with the driver. Human drivers have full mental and physical ability to control the vehicle besides sufficient knowledge and skill to prevent harm to others on the road. The UK law is also of the same opinion stating that the person driving the car is liable for all actions.
The law indicates that the driver of an autonomous car should take sufficient precautions and keep a watchful eye out for potential dangers prior to activating the self driving function. Drivers have to take care despite advances in autonomous technology which makes sense especially considering that autonomous software has to comply with a set of rational rules while it is still not as efficient as humans when dealing with unexpected exigencies.
On the other hand, insurers are trying to protect the consumer to determine who pays in the event of an accident. It has to be determined if it was negligence on the part of the driver or whether it was failure in automated driving system. Insurers would seek information 30 seconds prior and 15 seconds after crash to ascertain responsibility while details on time, location, running mode, car parked or in motion etc would also need to be taken into account for insurance claims.