California is one of the first cities in the United States to support self-driving cars. There are even laws in California that are centered around these vehicles, and one of them just experienced a massive change that could benefit pedestrians and passengers alike.
You see, there was a law that would allow car manufacturers to escape liability if their autonomous vehicle caused an accident. Basically, if an autonomous car is the cause of a crash, the car maker could walk away without taking responsibility if the owner had failed to maintain the vehicle properly.
For example, if the owner’s driverless car has mud on the sensors, that could affect the vehicle’s performance. Therefore, if an accident took place, the car makers are saying they should not be liable. We should point out that GM, the prominent American automaker, is the one to suggest this rule.
California says ‘No’
The Department of Motor Vehicles in California has disagreed to move ahead with the potential rule, and this has much to do with comments from the public on the matter. Now then, comments will end on December 15, the completed regulations could go into effect come 2018.
Folks shouldn’t worry too much about California’s backtrack in terms of who should be liable, because that doesn’t mean automakers will then refuse to make driverless cars. What we’re looking at here is an evolved approach to how things should be done going forward.
For the time being, this decision by California should settle the long debate on how liability should be handled where self-driving cars are concerned.
Additionally, if automakers take most of the blame, they’ll surely make more effort in developing cars before sanctioning them for public road use.
Automakers won’t take all of the blame
As it stands right now, the rules are still being ironed out, which means, there’s tons of room for change before autonomous vehicles become the norm. It simply means that car makers will find a way to remove themselves from some aspects of liability, ultimately leaving the owner to deal with it.
It’s going to be a long and drawn out process most likely, but hopeful, y that should mean strong communication for better regulations that makes sense and are fair.
There’s no doubt about it, driverless cars are fast approaching. Waymo is one of the few companies that are shaping the technology in the right direction in the United States. Yandex is doing the same in Russia as it attempts to create autonomous cars that can drive properly during winter conditions.