Driverless cars are jumping out of science fiction movies and into reality, quickly becoming a hot topic across the world. These vehicles are planned to be just what you expect: an automatically driven vehicle that allows you to input a location, sit back and relax as you are chauffeured by what is essentially a computerized car.
Now, like many people, you may be optimistically skeptical about such advances in technology. Driving has always been an activity that requires great skill, vigilance and practice; taking away control from the driver seems like a rather risky proposition. What could go wrong?
With this technology only in testing phases at the writing of this blog, do not expect to see anyone enjoying an episode of House of Cards during their commute to work anytime soon. That being said, insurance companies have had to examine the possibility that these autonomous cars may just change the face of coverage as we know it.
For instance, if you are driving home from work, are forced to stop because of a sudden traffic backup, and are bumped from behind by a tailgating pick up truck, Steve the truck driver is liable for the accident. However, if the truck is being driven by software instead of Steve the truck driver, who is responsible?
Well according to a recent tech article, insurance companies are already considering this conundrum. The answer seems to be in monitoring of driving; a touchy subject for many afraid of invaded privacy and “big brother.” If an autonomous cars has faulty programming or is susceptible to hackers, already an issue for Jeep this year, then the company will want to monitor your vehicle’s performance to ensure there are no “bugs” in your system. If your autonomous cars causes an accident, liability would fall squarely on the car’s manufacturer, as you are literally out of control.
If done correctly, a future with autonomous cars may be bright. Some predict higher safety on the road, lower emissions, less traffic and more free time for the consumer while commuting or travelling if everything goes as planned. It is important to keep an eye on the possible good and bad that comes along with such a brand new technology as this.
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