by Nathan Morrisson – Staff Reporter
The Google self-driving car will be commercially available by 2020. Most people see this as an exciting innovation, or a way to reduce the stress of commutes. However having self-driving cars on the streets brings up interesting some new problems.
The most obvious problem is what will happen when a self-driving car crashes. Until Feb. 14, Google’s cars had never been responsible for collisions. On Feb. 14, a Google car changed lanes, assuming that the bus coming up behind it would slow. The bus lightly collided with the car. There were no injuries, but there had been an accident, and it was partially the car’s fault.
Though this first accident was a shared responsibility between the car and the bus, in a few years when there are millions of self-driving driving cars on the road, all with private owners, there will inevitably be more accidents involving self-driving cars due to the higher number of them on the road. But whose fault it be when they crash?
If a self-driving car crashes, it should be the responsibility of the owner of the car.
On one hand, if a self-driving and it crashes, the owner did nothing wrong. The owner had nothing to do with driving the car.
On the other hand, if Google is responsible for every crash because they created the decision-making-engine, they would lose money to pay for all the damage of each crash, it wouldn’t be worth manufacturing self-driving cars.
For these reasons, a self-driving car owner is responsible for any crashes their car causes. If there is a crash caused by a self-driving car, it is the owners fault because it would be impossible for google to pay for every crash. Most drivers already have car insurance that could cover the crash. However, since private owners are responsible for crashes, Google should be in charge of doing everything they can to prevent crashes. This would include the company updating and streamlining the driving technology and safety features. Additionally, if a company were to release a faulty line of self-driving cars, then they would be responsible for fixing those cars, as in any other faulty car recall.