There are seems many reasons why fully autonomous vehicles are going to take longer time than what Google want us to believe. One of such reason is there are ethical dilemmas that have not been solved yet. As driverless car is programmed to avoid collision, but if there is a cat suddenly ran out in front of the car, it is not known how the driverless car will handle that situation. Will it put to a stop? Will it swirl around in a circle and potentially threatening the lives of its own passengers and the lives of others? There are still doubts unfortunately whether the technology is able to overcome such scenarios.
Another concern raised is who is to blame when there is an accident? As driverless car is built to reduce accidents as about 90% of them are believed to have been caused by driver error, however, it is unfair to say that driverless car cannot be the cause of the accident when it happens in the future. Even the driverless car which is currently being tested on the US roads has already been involved in crashes.
If an accident happens with the driverless car, if you happen to own it, are you liable? Or is it the car manufacturer? Or is the manufacturer of the part which failed? Or is it the software company? Andreas Gissler, managing director of Accenture’s Automotive practice admitted that they simply did not have the answer yet.
Stephan Appt, partner at law firm Pinsent Masons said that they key issue was to find a means to enable car drivers to establish that it was not them, or at least not a technical defect of their car, when a crash occurred. Therefore, there might be a need for event data recorders, the same technology as what is used for the aeroplane black box integrated into the car. However, this way will raise privacy issue as who has the right to access it.
On top of that there seems to be limitation to the technology used in the driverless car. Sensors used at the driverless car might not have sufficient range to react fast enough at high speed when something happened ahead. Lasers and cameras are also unfortunately less effective in rainy, foggy or snowy conditions.
Every connected technology cannot escape for security risk caused by hackings. It is the same thing with the driverless car. As driverless car is designed to be able to access internet easily to get the up-to-date traffic data, live music streaming as well as car-to-car communication might become standard too and therefore, it is exposed to hacking.
Even though there are still challenges, however, the idea of having a driverless car seems rather interesting.