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Tesla and Self Driving Car Risks

September 3, 2019   |   Posted by: Begum Law Group
Person driving a Tesla plug-in electric car Model X on a motorway

As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated and technology advances, we face more problems. When it comes to automated driving, we face a unique problem. Companies like Tesla, are boasting about how advanced their autonomous driving is. So this has lawyers asking, who is responsible in a crash? Can it be the person “behind the wheel?” After all, they’re technically not the ones in control, the software programmed to drive is. So, are automakers putting themselves at risk? If it’s their technology that’s driving the car and it malfunctions, wouldn’t they be to blame?

Tesla doesn’t seem to think so. They say that autopilot mode shifts blame to them. The person behind the wheel is the one ultimately responsible for controlling the vehicle. However, other companies like Google, who are exploring self-driving cars, say that type of thinking is dangerous. People will start to feel more like passengers than actual drivers. Suddenly expecting them to break when needed isn’t the safest call. Some accidents that have happened because of the failed autopilot could still leave Tesla on the hook.

One accident involved a Model S crashing into a semi-truck. The truck was white, and it was the middle of the day. If the accident happened because the tesla couldn’t detect the white truck, Tesla could be on the hook. Something like this could have been fixed if the proper testing was done. Since the technology is so new, its hard to say what the legal ramifications will be, but anyone interested in this technology should keep a close eye on how it develops.

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