Cooley On Cars
Smarter Driver: Will self-driving cars ever be legal?Brian Cooley explains the challenges associated with making autonomous cars legal.
[MUSIC] The assumption that every car has a human driving it, is being updated, though gradually. In 2014 the U.N. amended its 46 year old rule to allow self driving cars, largely at the urging of Germany, Italy, and France. The homes of some big car makers that are developing the machine. The new language states that a driver must be behind the wheel. And can take control back at a moments notice. But, that they may legally pull back from managing the wheel and pedals for some extended period. [MUSIC] Notably this UN convention though, has never covered Japan. China, or the US. In America, four US states and the District of Columbia, have legalized autonomous cars on public roads, though for testing and with a human standing by. Another 11 are considering the idea. 12 states have already done so and said, no. This sets up a problem in the huge and lucrative US car market. Target. Fragmentation. Insurance companies are the other major rule maker, if you will. So far, they envision a world where the driver is still fully responsible, though there's been a call by California insurers to have car makers shoulder some or all of the liability around autonomous accidents. A 2014 study by the Rand Corporation looked at that idea and theorized it could quickly throw a lot of cold water on self-driving cars, or limit the technology to high priced flagships where the volumes are low and the price is high enough to fund the additional liability. But that puts the self driving car's benefits into a lot fewer people's hands. Much more to come on this, of course. One day it may pay to double check who is liable in an accident, you or maybe your car mate. More realities of modern driving revealed now at cnetoncars.com. Click on Smarter Drivers.