If a Robotic Car Crashes, Who Takes the Blame?

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 230B (San Jose Convention Center)
Bryant Walker Smith, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
ehicle automation technologies have the potential to reduce crash and injury rates, improve the effectiveness of recalls and safety improvement campaigns, and increase the information available to investigators and litigators. These developments, should they manifest themselves, could eventually reduce and rationalize the liability and litigation costs that are collectively incurred—and ultimately passed on to consumers—by automakers, suppliers, service providers, insurers, and other automotive actors. At the same time, shifting more driving decisions from reactive human drivers to proactive human designers may mean that a greater share of crash-related costs (in a broad sense) pass through automotive manufacturers on their way to consumers. Managing this risk – and determining who is liable in an accident – may in turn require and inspire innovative business models, particularly with respect to insurance.