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Autonomous - the regulatory and legal hurdles

NOLA_Mike

Grouchy
May 11, 2013
2,262
3,838
Hammond, LA
So, I admit that I am mostly ignorant with regards to what Federal and / or State laws are currently in existence that would prevent/prohibit/limit an autonomous vehicle from operating on public roads.

Those in the know, what laws exist now (if any) that would stop anyone from sending a driverless vehicle out on its way? In other words, do current laws specifically require a human driver be operating the vehicle or is that just assumed?
 
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Grifon

Member
Oct 22, 2016
42
73
Alabama
The timing of your question is near perfect. The US Federal Government released this document (116 pages worth) 2 days ago:

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/AV policy guidance PDF.pdf

Here is a Wiki of collected information that includes state by state regulations and attempts at passing regulations. Nearly all state regulation attempts have failed.

Automated Driving: Legislative and Regulatory Action - CyberWiki

From the Stanford site, it looks like only 5 states have any kind of autonomous driving regulation. My guess is the industry will be able to move quicker than state legislatures can decide what to allow/disallow.
 
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NOLA_Mike

Grouchy
May 11, 2013
2,262
3,838
Hammond, LA
Great info @Grifon thanks for posting that.

From the Stanford site, it looks like only 5 states have any kind of autonomous driving regulation. My guess is the industry will be able to move quicker than state legislatures can decide what to allow/disallow.

That's what I'm wondering. It seems to me that barring any specific laws prohibiting their use that they may go into service before some states can enact any laws or regulations - or, laws and regulations will be rushed to completion resulting in some bad ones.

Federal regulations decide what type of headlights cars sold in the US may have, seat belts standards, etc. I'm wondering how much of this will fall under Federal and how much will be left to individual states.
 

AudubonB

One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!
Mar 24, 2013
8,362
30,369
An important topic; make sure to keep three eyes also on what non-US entities like Canada, Japan, EU, China are doing on this front.
 
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Johan

Ex got M3 in the divorce, waiting for EU Model Y!
Feb 9, 2012
7,496
9,893
Drammen, Norway
From a legal standpoint it will be a hornets' nest should there be no specific regulation prohibiting a driverless case to drive around on public streets and the first deadly accident occurs. Who is the responsible party if it is deemed the driverless car was the cause of the accident? The owner? The manufacturer? The one who summoned it?
 
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NOLA_Mike

Grouchy
May 11, 2013
2,262
3,838
Hammond, LA
From a legal standpoint it will be a hornets' nest should there be no specific regulation prohibiting a driverless case to drive around on public streets and the first deadly accident occurs. Who is the responsible party if it is deemed the driverless car was the cause of the accident? The owner? The manufacturer? The one who summoned it?

I'm trying to think of a corollary - perhaps the automated tram at an airport. If it had an accident I assume (in the US anyway) that EVERYONE would get sued - the owner/operator, manufacturer and property owner.

Good question though - at this point without anything changing I would think the car's owner's insurance would be at risk and if they felt the vehicle was at fault due to the negligence of the manufacturer they could turn around and go after them.
 
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Grifon

Member
Oct 22, 2016
42
73
Alabama
Per page 45 of the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy or (FAVP)

8. Liability and Insurance

States are responsible for determining liability rules for HAVs. States should consider how to allocate liability among HAV owners, operators, passengers, manufacturers, and others when a crash occurs. For example, if an HAV is determined to be at fault in a crash then who should be held liable? For insurance, States need to determine who (owner, operator, passenger, manufacturer, etc.) must carry motor vehicle insurance. Determination of who or what is the “driver” of an HAV in a given circumstance does not necessarily determine liability for crashes involving that HAV. For example States may determine that in some circumstances liability for a crash involving a human driver of an HAV should be assigned to the manufacturer of the HAV.
 
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zenmaster

Member
Apr 9, 2016
964
484
Atlanta
From a legal standpoint it will be a hornets' nest should there be no specific regulation prohibiting a driverless case to drive around on public streets and the first deadly accident occurs. Who is the responsible party if it is deemed the driverless car was the cause of the accident? The owner? The manufacturer? The one who summoned it?
Mercedes, Volvo, and Google all said over a year ago that they would accept responsibility.
 

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