Questions regarding the safety of self-driving cars came into the minds of many South Carolina residents after a recent crash that resulted in death. Not only is it a tragedy for the family of the victim, but it presents the discussion of who is responsible for the accident and who is held legally liable.
Stanford Law discusses the factors around the fatal crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. Also known as autonomous vehicles, self-driving cars are just starting to be tested on public roads and, as with other accidents, the first thing to consider is who is at fault. In this specific incident, there was a safety driver in the vehicle whose job was to take charge if the vehicle was not functioning correctly. If investigators determine the driver had enough information and time to avoid the crash, Uber would be liable.
There is also the chance the features, such as sensors and radars, were not working properly. In this case, liability would potentially fall on Uber as well as the manufacturer of the vehicle. There is also the possibility that the victim herself is partly to blame for the accident, especially if she was unable to be seen in the dark and was not paying attention.
According to Business Insider, local police are leaning towards the fact the human eye would not have been able to see the victim in enough time to avoid collision. However, the senses of the vehicle should have been able to, putting into question the self-driving technology. The potential upside of this issue is that Uber will invest a lot more resources to improve the safety of its vehicles in the future.