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Who Is Liable in Case of an Autonomous Car Accident?

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Who is Liable in case of an Autonomous Car Accident?

Subtitle of Your Position

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My name

Date

HONOUR CODE

As a student at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, I uphold and defend academic integrity, academic rigour and academic liberty as core values of higher learning. I attest, on my word of honour, that work submitted in my name is my own work, and that any ideas or materials used in support of this work which are not originally my own are cited and referenced accordingly.

Abstract

The introduction of autonomous vehicles is one of the major innovations by man kind that is set to propel the world forward. The vehicles are however, not a solution to accidents. They are only meant to help reduce the cases. These are computers and computers are at times bound to fail or malfunction. In regards to that, the question of who should then take the blame in case of an autonomous accident is answered here. This paper focuses on the manufacturer as the party liable for an autonomous car accident. As per the scenarios discussed below, this paper argues that the manufacturer is to be held responsible in case of an accident. This is because the vehicle involved in the accident is a product of his works. The paper defends drivers especially the disabled ones, non-attentive drivers as well as those drivers with limited access to the vehicle’s control system.

Keywords.

Autonomous vehicle, Manufacturer, Driver, Malfunction, Liability, Traditional vehicle, Policy

                Table of Contents

I. Honour code ………………………………………………………………........1

II. Abstract ………………………………………………………………………. 2

III. Table of contents.…………………………………………………………….. 3

IV. Introduction …………………………………………………………………...4

V. Literature Review………………………………………………………………4

VI. Discussion……………………………………………………………………..4

        Manufacturing defects……………………………………….....5

        Inability to warn……………………………………………….  5

        Drivers rely on and not control the vehicle……………………..6

VII. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………7

VIII. Word count…………………………………………………………………..8

IX. References……………………………………………………………………...9

X. Appendix: Turnitin report……………………………………………………...10

Who is liable in case of an autonomous car accident?

Introduction

        What the past has always admired is already here. They have been portrayed in different platforms such as movies and art. The autonomous cars by Google in collaboration with other manufacturers are nowhere. They are famously known as ‘Robot cars,’ capable of self-driving themselves on all conditions. They are a great advancement because they are not subject to human factors such as driver fatigue or distractions. They are simply machines driving themselves. With such an innovation, Google offers a technology that will reduce accidents on roads. Though life’s value is intrinsic and incalculable, the autonomous vehicles will by much value save costs. However, there is a reality unavoidable. Since there are no perfect computers, it is then practical to accept the reality that these vehicles will also be involved in accidents and take away life. It is therefore important to determine where and with whom the liabilities of such accidents belong. This paper has argued on why the manufacturer should be liable in case of an autonomous vehicle accident in relation to manufacturing defects, inability to warn as well as customer’s trust.

Literature Review

Google is now the driving force behind the autonomous vehicles. With this technology, different groups of people such as the disabled or physically impaired have the opportunity to drive. These self-driving cars are dependent on the Global Positioning Systems (G.P.S.) and radar sensors to navigate through the streets. The vehicle is able to sense traffic and navigate through different routes through the use of google maps. There are cameras that detect any barriers along the road. This information is then used by other Google cars using the same route.

However, there is the likelihood of a malfunction that could lead to an accident. When such an event occurs, there is need to know whose fault it is or who should take the blame. In response to this, some states such as California and Nevada have adopted policies and legislation that regulate the use of autonomous vehicles. They have set aside procedures and scenarios (though not fully and in-depth) to determine who takes the liability in case of an accident. The law nonetheless seems not to be enough as the debate on who should be liable still continues. This article gets to argue on different reasons using some situations to see why the manufacturer is the likely party to carry the burden of an autonomous car accident.

Discussion

Manufacturing defects.

            The first subjects to blame after an autonomous car accident are definitely the manufacturers. The first option on this is either the manufacturer made a faulty product or his product failed in the process of serving the user. This is because they are the people that deliver the final product to the consumers. For a vehicle to cause an accident, the first thought that comes to mind is of a fault in its manufacturing stage. For an autonomous vehicle, this statement has more weight considering the fact that autonomous vehicles are meant to rely on no or little human contribution. As a result, the driver here being a cause of the accident is removed from the equation. According to Gurney (2013), a vehicle that fails to meet the requirements and standards of the manufacturer at the beginning has a defect. This vehicle therefore, when presented to the customer will not function as per the manufacturer’s advertisement or promises to the customer. For example, the laser sensors found in autonomous vehicles are supposed to detect traffic and determine when to obey the traffic rules. However, the National Qualifiers Event (N.Q.E.), held in South California displayed the manufacturer’s fault in the autonomous vehicles. One of the last autonomous vehicles that participated in the competitions failed to properly use its laser sensors. The vehicle owned by Caltech was unable to safely park and traverse through an area with concrete barriers. This led to a series of internal failures-as is expected of computers. The result was an accident with a human-driven vehicle (Campbell et al., 2010). The events of this competition exposed how autonomous in a way or another have a manufacturing error. In such a situation where the systems malfunction, the driver has nothing to do as interfering with the vehicle’s system could cause a fatal accident. This then opens doors for anyone to sue the manufacturer if the product does not meet its properties.

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