Author Topic: Who’s responsible when autonomous vehicles kill?  (Read 32 times)


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Who’s responsible when autonomous vehicles kill?
« on: November 10, 2018, 07:43:09 PM »
In spite of evidence to the contrary, we keep being told that an onslaught of autonomous cars will be flooding the market—and the highways—in the next decade. There certainly are a lot of promises, big numbers and millions of dollars being thrown around: GM has spent more than $1 billon to acquire self-driving startup Cruise ($581 million) and a 9% stake in Lyft ($500 million); Ford will invest $1 billion in Argo AI and promises a Level 4 (highly automated) vehicle by 2021.

Market research firms are producing global estimates for autonomous vehicles that range from 600,000 units in 2025 to 21 million units in 2035, and the latest figure from IHS Markit puts autonomous vehicle sales at 33 million annually in 2040. Yet, according to a number of reports in various news media, very few big cities (where autonomous vehicles make the most sense) are even ready for this projected onslaught.

Robert Huschka in his online publication A3 Insider asks the question, “When Artificial Intelligence Makes a Decision, Who is Responsible?” Huschka noted in his editorial from Nov. 9 that “insurance giant Allianz cited emerging AI technologies as the seventh top risk to business—ahead of political turmoil or climate change,” and warned companies that they “face new liability scenarios and challenges as responsibility shifts from human to machine.

“Assignment of blame will prove challenging, ‘increasing the pressure on manufacturers and software vendors and decreasing the strict liability of consumers,’” the Allianz report says.

Autonomous vehicles may not reach the hoped for sales in the millions that so many are predicting, for the reasons noted above and many others. But until the legal questions are settled and laws are revamped to address the question of liability, it would probably be a good idea to give your insurance agent a call.