Self-driving Car Fatality Shakes Industry

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Self-driving Car Fatality Shakes Industry

Self-driving car makers are coping with the ramifications of a road death in a self-driving car. It’s a tragedy that should be of note for the parking industry, as well. I saw the headlines a week ago, when a Tesla with the autopilot system activated crashed into a semi, and I though immediately that this was going to affect the development, testing and proliferation of these vehicles. According to theatlantic.com:

“What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S,” Tesla said. “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”

Read the article here.

My stance is that no computer is going to have the same ability to react to a million different driving scenarios that a human does. Sure, humans make more mistakes, but computers have limited perception and comprehension.

Whether or not self-driving cars will become a widespread reality, and whether or not they rearrange the entire parking industry when/if they do, a change in vehicle use is material to parking.

One issue driverless car makers are focused on right now are the legal ramifications of a fatal crash that occurred when a computer was at the wheel, so to speak.

A law firm in England says laws will have to change to accommodate this new technology, reports thisisthewestcountry.co.uk.

Clarke Willmott partner Philip Edwards said: “Existing in-car technology including self-parking systems, cruise control, lane departure warning and intelligent braking programmes are creating whole new territories which remain to be decided in law.

“While self-drive cars could bring long term benefits in terms of safety, reduced emissions and even social mobility, legal protocols will need to be put in place capable of being tested in the courts at all levels.”

When accidents occur, law enforcement and insurance representatives have to establish fault or responsibility. How is that done when a computer is driving? There is a lot of information swirling around the death of Joshua Brown – some news outlets have reported that he was watching a movie while his car drove, others say only that investigators found the remnants of a portable DVD player at the crash. Either way, Brown did not brake and neither did his car. Makes it hard to decide who’s responsible for the accident.

We will see how the legal adaptations play out, but they will be significant to the success of these vehicles.

Read the article here.

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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