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A Question Of Liability

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by Dan Detweiler, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Dan Detweiler

    Dan Detweiler Member

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    So, I was listening to the latest video blog from the Tesla Model 3 Owner's page at the gym this morning and a thought struck me.

    In short, should government approval or acceptance limit/slow the release of new technology on a vehicle? Of course I was specifically thinking about autonomous capability. It is obvious that technological breakthroughs will always be well ahead of governmental acceptance, but it struck me that perhaps it shouldn't get in the way of releasing this ability to the public. The argument of course is that it would open up Tesla to an onslaught of liability cases when people start getting in accidents and heaven forbid, losing their lives as a result of the use of this technology.

    But wait, don't we already do this on a daily basis with every car on the road? Every car produced in the world today possesses the technological ability to break the law. They can all exceed posted speed limits, they can all drift out of their lane, they can all follow too closely, etc. When these and other traffic rules are broken and there is an accident, nobody sues (and wins at least) the car manufacturer over the stupidity of its operator.

    What is to keep Tesla from doing the same thing with autonomy, with the stipulation that any accidents incurred while using the technology is the sole responsibility of the driver? The driver being always the responsible party. This would allow them to release it much sooner, let people use it up to the point of taking the driver out of the car, collecting the data needed to improve the technology and supporting their claim with the government regarding signing off on its use. They could then site the efficiency and improved safety over human driving.

    What do you think? Especially all you lawyers out there. Interested in your take.

    Thanks in advance

    Dan
     
  2. sg021

    sg021 Member

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    I'm not a lawyer, but on the surface I don't see why you couldn't keep calling it an assist feature that requires your constant attention and get away with it as Tesla does now with autosteer.

    If you want to say it's self driving, that seems like a different animal. I would think manufacturers would actually prefer a certification program of some sort from the government to help them with liability, and maybe also give the first to market some red tape to work through.
     
  3. JeffK

    JeffK Well-Known Member

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    Tesla has already mentioned if it was something that was the fault of their design then they will take responsibility.

    As you know the vast majority of accidents are a result of human error. More than likely if an autonomous car gets into an accident while in autonomous mode then it'll be the fault of the human driving the other car. Other times accidents are unavoidable.

    In the rare case where an autonomous car drives off the road "just because" I have no doubt Tesla will have money set aside to deal with such issues. In the long run, if they and the entire fleet can learn from it then the money only needs to be paid out once for that particular issue.
     
  4. strykeroz

    strykeroz Member

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    I would have thought every aspect of each system that's been introduced into our vehicles has been government approved so this cannot be any different.

    For something as fundamental as lighting, everything is regulated down to the wattage, number and colour of the lights, and where they can or are not allowed to face or be located, and how they're controlled. Car makers are able to innovate within these rules.

    The challenge for regulators will be gaining enough of a grasp of what's relevant to regulate for these new autonomous systems.
     
  5. JeffK

    JeffK Well-Known Member

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    It's not possible to test every scenario and everyone will have their own DNN models. You can show statistics though, that's how the drug industry does things with the government.

    As you mentioned lighting, the regulations are totally outdated. Wattage means little when we have far more efficient lights now. The lumens put out by HID and LEDs far exceed that of the legal limit Halogen (and I'm not complaining, bright lights are fantastic unless they're in your mirror.) The number of lights is also not really regulated as long as that number is more than one.
     
  6. Dan Detweiler

    Dan Detweiler Member

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    So do you think government regulation will slow or delay the release of the technology?

    Dan
     
  7. strykeroz

    strykeroz Member

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    Completely agree. Sorry was just included as an example as I looked these up recently for our state laws. Found the rules quite astonishing and inconsistant, especially since the advent of the LED light bar!
    That could be how it would be done - not a bad suggestion.
    I guess that might differ from place to place too.
     
  8. JeffK

    JeffK Well-Known Member

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    • Like x 1
  9. Dan Detweiler

    Dan Detweiler Member

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    Now, will a Republican House try to block any/all of this just because it has Obama's name on it?

    Dan
     
    • Funny x 1
  10. JeffK

    JeffK Well-Known Member

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    They're still trying to block electric cars, renewable energy, and climate change...
     
    • Like x 3
  11. Dan Detweiler

    Dan Detweiler Member

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    Yet another reason the two party system must go in America...but I digress.

    Dan
     
    • Like x 3
  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    What's the problem ?

    Pass a law, and AGW goes away. At least so I am lead to believe from the intarwebs.
     
  13. Red Sage

    Red Sage The Cybernetic Samurai

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    Limit? Yes. Slow? Prolly not. It is not typically the government that slows things down, so much as the automotive industry. They fight, and bite, and scratch, and bitch, and moan, and complain that anything and everything designed to improve safety is not necessary, costs too much, and is an impedance to 'personal freedom'. It has been nearly 50 years since the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended seat belts become standard on buses in 1968. There is still no law or regulation to that effect. Funny thing is? The instant a new safety regulation is in place, traditional automobile manufacturers go out of their way to do a marketing campaign to proclaim they are the 'first' to adopt such systems and devices to their entire product line.

    I'm certain that nothing in this world would move the Great State of Texas to secede from the Union any faster than passing national legislation limiting all motor vehicles to a 65-to-80 MPH maximum top speed. The fact that Tesla Motors is already building their cars with what they call Autonomous Capable hardware is one thing. It is another entirely to activate that capability without regulatory allowance. But really, Tesla doesn't have to convince the government about this at all. All they have to do is convince insurance companies that they can achieve a 90% or more reduction in the potential for accidents with their self driving systems, and those guys will lobby Capitol Hill to make such systems mandatory on all cars going forward, beyond a certain date. Having it ready 'early' would not be a strike against Tesla at all.

    I am not a lawyer, but... I am extremely conservative when it comes to anything that might be considered to be a blatant disregard of Federal, State, or Local laws. I look back at the trumped up charges that brought down Tucker and DeLorean and seriously believe that with ANY given opening, Tesla Motors would be attacked with just as much verve. Heck, those companies advertised and used 'independent franchised dealerships' and were still brought up on charges of wrongdoing -- even though they didn't. Tesla is currently testing their cars in those States that have granted them a license to do so. Combined with data gleaned from the cloud from the fleet of cars that are 'In the Wild', Tesla will gain all the information they need to improve their systems. There's no need for them to go all guerrilla warfare on this.
     
    • Informative x 1

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