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More About The Google Robotic Car

Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 9:40 am    

I recently wrote about Google’s fleet of robotic cars and the Nevada legislation that now allows them to obtain special driving permits. Now that these robotic cars are on the road, several interesting legal questions have emerged.  John Markhoff began exploring these questions in his article in the New York Times.

“But the advent of autonomus vehicles poses plenty of legal questions, the Google researchers acknowledge. Under current law, a human must be in control of a car at all times, but what does that mean if a human is not really paying attention as a car crosses through a school zone, figuring that the robot is driving more safely than he would?,” wrote Markhoff.

“And in the event of an accident who would be liable – a person behind the wheel or the maker of the software?”

According to Mr. Markoff, Google claims they carefully examined California’s motor vehicle regulations and determined that because the human driver in the test car can override any error, the experimental cars are legal.  Mr. Bernard Lu Sr., a senior staff attorney with the California Department of Motor Vehicles agrees Google’s determination.

All of this has me wondering, where do you get insurance for a robotic car?  Let’s hope that Google’s success continues and none of their self-driving cars are involved in any collisions.  If they are, it might be left up to an injured accident victim to sort out whether or not the experimental Google cars are properly insured.

Click here to read the full article by John Markoff.