There has been a lot of hype about self-driving cars, the scarey part of the equation is that the companies that are developing the technology are not planning to take responsibility if something goes wrong.
Recently Consumer WatchDog pointed out, “Self-driving vehicles will pose unprecedented safety, security, and privacy risks, and insurance companies and auto makers will try to shift the blame – and the costs – to consumers through higher insurance rates.” Automakers and tech companies are pushing for no-fault insurance, then all consumers would pay for damages when self-driving cars crash or kill
The Safe Autonomous Vehicles (SAVe) Campaign announced that out of more than a dozen automakers it challenged to take responsibility for failures in their autonomous vehicle technology, only Volvo has publicly agreed to accept responsibility for their robot cars at some levels of automation.
Automakers and tech companies that are not taking responsibility for damages, to property, people, cities, cars or deaths are Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Ford, BMW, GM, Nissan, Waymo, Uber, Daimler, Honda, FCA, Toyota, Porsche, Jaguar/Land Rover, Audi and Lyft. In the state of California self-driving permits requires eviddence of insurance, Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturer Surety Bond in the amount of five million dollars ($5,000,000).
Meanwhile, the campaign noted that VW, just days after pleading guilty to a massive effort to deceive customers, responded to the challenge by pledging that its “long track record . . . stand on its own merits.”
The VW response to the SAVe Campaign challenge read, in part:
“It is in fact because of our experienced approach over many years that we have encouraged other players in this field to follow a transparent step-by-step introduction of this transformative technology so that consumers above all find comfort in the long-term societal benefits self-driving cars offer for safety, reduced emissions, improved quality of life in congested areas and greater mobility for the disabled and elderly among us. We will let our long track record and continued pursuit of this philosophy stand on its own merits.”
SAVe challenged executives from the aforementioned companies to pledge to take responsibility for accidents caused by technology failure in ALL autonomous (robot) vehicles. The campaign set a deadline of March 15 for the companies’ responses. Only VW/Audi and Porsche responded. None of the companies agreed to be accountable for failures in their technology.
“To be clear: Our campaign supports the development of autonomous vehicle technology,” said national SAVe Campaign spokesperson—and motor vehicle accident victims’ advocate—Jeremy Warriner. “We believe self-driving cars may be one of the most significant technological developments of our lifetime. They promise enormous benefit for consumers, IF manufacturers establish concrete transparency and accountability standards.”
Warriner, a survivor of a near-fatal car accident that required the amputation of both legs above the knee, praised Volvo for its industry-leading promise of accountability for SAE Level 4 and 5 vehicles, while pushing automakers to go even further. “The companies we’ve challenged pride themselves on safety and reliability. No manufacturer will want to be known as the risky choice in self-driving cars—or as the company who won’t stand behind its product.”
The SAVe Campaign (SAVe) is a national project to educate the general public, opinion-leaders, and policymakers about the importance of ensuring that automakers take responsibility for their autonomous technology. SAE International’s levels 2-5 range from partial to full automation. SAVe will be working with its partners to share the following chart of the auto company responses to date.
The campaign will ensure that the rights of people negatively impacted by the development of autonomous vehicle technology will not be compromised.