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Home Opinion Contributors AUTONOMOUS CARS: Who Pays If Something Goes Wrong?

AUTONOMOUS CARS: Who Pays If Something Goes Wrong?


[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith technology in the global auto industry gliding from new inventions and innovations to amazing creativities, the face of automobile gears to a future ‘dependably’ owned by self driving wheels, in a vehicular generation called Autonomous. This seeming craves for the Autonomous vehicles is garnering momentum as global auto manufacturers are already competing in the production.

Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Vehicle
Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Vehicle

But, one of the big questions about cars with self-driving technology is who would be culpable should something go wrong on the highway? There is no driver in this case, and the rider is only a passenger in the car who does nothing than sit comfortably and waiting to get to his destination. He has no contribution at all to the smooth ride, or does he?

Information about the autonomous car says it is the only determiner on the road and the chip governing it pilots the direction. So, if it runs into an accident, who takes the blame? The manufacturer, but why?

The generous auto manufacturer’s ingenious adventure to take the wheel off a driver only seeks to rescue him from the burden of exerting too much energy and straining his eyes on the road; and to remove the fate of the passenger from bad and drunken drivers who had sent many innocent lives to untimely doom. As well, to secure the roads from unnecessary cracks and bumps caused by bad driving, so that resources that could have been wasted in repairing roads are kept for other precious uses.

The only players left in the debate are the Insurance firms who would always try to prove they shouldn’t have to pay for an accident, because, really, they haven’t caused the accident. Yet, they could not be seen to completely free.

The British government says it is already hoping to address this issue with a new piece of legislation to be introduced in 2017. In anticipation of this, it is currently consulting with both the public and experts about how driverless cars should be insured in the future. But, how that is not likely to hang undue culpability on the insurance companies leaves much to be desired. Perhaps, before then, insurance personalities should also be devising means to remove the indicting clause from their responsibilities. Did I hear you say, and then lose customers? Of course, because, no risk no pain. In the first place why would a straight thinking person neck deep into something he’s not sure about?  I wouldn’t! Call it bad business sense or what ever, but taking responsibility for an offense I haven’t committed could be termed as share madness.

Matthew Channon is PhD Candidate in Motor Insurance Law, University of Exeter. He believes that one feature “that could be introduced would build on the current system of compulsory insurance. But as well as every driver needing insurance, manufacturers of any car with a form of self-driving technology would also have to take out a policy to cover any liability for accidents.

He deduced that “Liability will then be determined on the circumstances of each individual accident.” Meaning that, if the accident is caused entirely by the vehicle, it is the manufacturer’s insurers who would be liable, but if the accident is caused by both vehicle malfunction and driver error, then it is likely to fall on both insurers.”

But, there is no driver, so which other driver could Matthew be referring to? See, the chip is the only adopted driver here and its brain is supposedly been planted in its panel skull by the maker, who is the auto manufacturer. So it is still not clear which “both insurers.”

The bone of contention here to sue for s more vivid clarification about the operations of the Anonymous cars to avoid future contradictions, because sooner than later, these vehicles are bound to reach Africa, where already Insurance companies seem to be having field day on the Third Party.

There is need to spell every word about the subject here, because it is certain that no sooner the first of the Anonymous cars go for grabs, that it will be seen in the streets of Lagos. Africans are the richest people in the world and such luxury cars are mere, especially to the Nigerian business magnet. So, please, clear the air, manufacturers, or else you might have to bear all the risk.

EFULA ABBAH, General Editor, Motoring World Intl.
EFULA ABBAH, General Editor, Motoring World Intl.

However, the advent of the anonymous cars will be a welcome development. It will further bring man and chip robotics as partners in progress, but again, if I were to be the only one in a cosy Anonymous posh car, will I feel like there is a company in the car with me; for conversations, in case I get bored of sitting all by myself, at the owner’s side of the car or feel like shouting at somebody.

I can’t be talking to a chip; or accommodate an invisible voice just like that and you know, in Africa, people think you are crazy, so easily. It could better make more sense to have a Robot swallow the chip and planted on the driver’s seat. At least there would be the feeling that there’s a company, even though it’s a make believe; and if he can converse, oh better. Somehow, we will all get to adjust to learning more computer language. It is far saner than sitting in a car without anything as driver, or one should be preparing for some kind of spiritism, “an invisible man driver.”

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