Uber tested autonomous vehicles in California before the state halted those tests due to a lack of safety standards. On Feb. 5, the company was given the green light to resume testing self-driving vehicles on the state’s roads as long as a backup driver is in the vehicle. While the testing might have just begun for Uber, there are more than 60 companies that have obtained approval for trying out driverless cars.
The vehicles that are part of the test program won’t be carrying passengers, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any risk. One concern that comes with these vehicles is that they rely on artificial intelligence to react to situations that occur. Without any human driver, it’s hard to say whether the programmed actions will be sufficient.
Supporters of these driverless vehicles note that there are risks with anything you undertake, and that autonomous vehicles might actually be a safer option than those operated by humans. Still, it might not be a very good idea to try out the autonomous vehicles on roads with humans.
One thing that makes the risks of these autonomous vehicles so challenging is that there isn’t a precedent set for the repercussions of any accidents involving these autonomous vehicle. When there’s a driver, the driver is likely going to be held liable for the damages. In the absence of a human driver, who’s responsible? Would it be the vehicle manufacturer, the AI software manufacturer, the owner of the vehicle or another entity?
If you’re on California’s roads and end up injured in a crash with an autonomous vehicle, you might opt to pursue a claim for compensation. This can reduce your financial liability by shifting it to the liable party.