The introduction of self-driving machines raised several questions about their safety and the manufacturer’s liability for accidents. While many people still prefer driving without any additional help to ensure full control, others already enjoyed the small implementation of partial automation, such as cruise control functions. However, the rapid development of electric cars developed in favor of sustainability and environmental protection allowed the implementation of full automation systems. Even though the technology is still relatively expensive for regular customers, it is expected that in the future it will become more accessible and widespread.
Firstly, in considering the safety of self-driving cars, it is necessary to define where liability resides in cases of accidents. In addition, there are several levels of automatization installed in self-driving cars, which means that all potential accidents can involve different levels of Human participation in the driving process. Thus, all driving accidents involving self-driving technology should be examined individually. The self-driving technology implemented in the car could be acknowledged both as a driver and representative of the manufacturer. Therefore, in cases of any accidents caused by an error of the system the manufacturer is responsible for the accident. However, the statistics suggest that the chances of error in the self-driving system are extremely low, and existing cases of accidents with self-driving cars involve a lack of driver’s attention (Brown). Furthermore, the widespread use of cars with the self-driving system will significantly change the process of receiving payments from insurance companies. Implementation of artificial intelligence technology in vehicles will eventually reduce the risks for the driver, and the insurance prices will decrease. Thus, in the future, the insurance industry may decrease significantly due to lower risks associated with self-driving cars.
Next, even though humanity is gradually approaching the state of full automatization of cars, the widespread implementation of self-driving technology requires a substantial data foundation. Acquiring the driving details data from multiple vehicles will provide more specific details and allow the development of a more sophisticated AI driving system. Collecting the data from several manufacturers can potentially improve the existing self-driving algorithms and provide order in automation. However, some companies already have significant budgets allocated for real traffic studies, so sharing this data with other manufacturing companies for free will reduce the company’s competitiveness level. Moreover, in cases where some companies may be willing to expand to other countries with different traffic rules, the combination of data will cause system problems. Therefore, the implementation of a standard artificial intelligence algorithm across all manufacturers will have its pros and cons. I do not believe that manufacturers will accept this mandate because they will lose their competitiveness level.
Lastly, in the current stage of technological development, it is not necessary for vehicle software developers to care about different levels of autonomy in cars that do not exceed the second level of autonomy. While the drivers prefer to control the vehicles, the software should focus on assisting human driving. However, the development of vehicle software for cars with full automotive systems should be more attentive and precise, as full automotive systems in the future can be used in emergencies. Thus, the degree of care in the developing process should increase depending on the level of autonomy. In conclusion, while the development of fully automotive self-driving cars is still quite far in the future, current studies and tests run by individual manufacturers significantly influence the further development of the technology.
Brown, Peter. “Only 2 Accidents Involving Self-driving Cars Caused by Poor Systems.” Electronics 360, Web.