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Auto Industry Lawyers at ABA Conf. -- semi- and automated-driving issues


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
SF Bay Area
This Reuters article from today pretty much captures what I've seen discussed by members here on the Model X Mt. View accident, that of liability issues for manufacturers and suppliers. Figured it might be better to create a thread just for this line of discussion instead of piling it on in the accident threads which are already pretty much all over the place with discussion and cover things like the road markings as well. I'm sure this thread will be many pages long in no time ;)

Auto industry lawyers warn automated driving hype will be a legal...

There is one paragraph in the article regarding the Florida/Mr. Brown NTSB report and today's reported statement by the NTSB to Tesla that still has me scratching my head. Here's the paragraph:

"Investigating a 2016 fatal crash, the National Transportation Safety Board last year said Autopilot lacked safeguards, giving too much leeway to the driver to divert attention. The NTSB in a statement on Thursday urged Tesla to act on the safety recommendations in that report."

Tesla did act on those safety recommendations as far as I know adding wheel monitoring, flashing display, audible alerts, etc. We know on the Model 3 they added a camera to watch the driver. Apart from requiring drivers hands to be chained to the steering wheel or shock treatment to be given via the driver's seat, what reasonable things should a manufacturer do? This is an industry wide issue and unfortunately Tesla's the first to be the focus but we know other manufacturers will be in a similar situation over time. The article mentions GM's SuperCruise implimentation but let's face it it doesn't work all the time, has a lag period getting updated to changed current conditions and still require the driver to drive for the vast amount of time in the car and so it still brings you back to the Driver being responsible for safely operating the vehicle and paying attention.
You can't fix stupid. Nothing prompts the driver in normal cars to keep their hands on the wheel and pay attention while they fiddle with their phones.

Because autopilot might avoid an accident caused by an inattentive driver, you can't expect the car to be completely accountable for the driver.

I'm not a huge fan of the wheel torque nag on the Tesla though. There are too many false alarms and it doesn't focus on the real issue, which is eyes forward...
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