It was only a bump, but it was also inevitable. A driverless car, actually an autonomous automobile with a person as backup, had an accident. Robots aren’t perfect either. Each accident will be a test of the software but also the legal and insurance liabilities. In this case, the car bumped into a bus. The damage was slight and no one was hurt. It was a Google car hitting a public bus; so, we’ve yet to test the implications for a privately owned auto auto hitting a pedestrian. We are, however, nudging in the that direction. One response would be to dramatically limit the use of such vehicles; but on a statistical basis, the driverless cars have fewer accidents and are safer. Will we be more comfortable maintaining the status quo with its familiar laws, or will we move to a physically safer but more legally ambiguous alternative?
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