The concerns with self-driving cars

While cars that drive themselves sound like a great idea, there are some concerns that may prevent self-driving cars getting off the ground.

If you are an Australian fleet manager, you may be following the development of this technology, but there are some legal and ethical issues to consider. The price of new developments may also prevent some businesses embracing this technology.

Legal issues

In order to allow these cars on Australian roads, there may need to be a shift in road laws.

While manufacturers claim these cars will be safer than manually driven cars, the is always the risk of a computer malfunction or error.

This means these types of vehicles may be subject to more rigorous testing and controls in order to maintain safety.

Ethical problems

While insurance premiums may drop if there are fewer accidents, it leaves the industry in a moral quandary.

For example, if a kangaroo jumped out and hit the car, the computer may be left with two choices - to drive off the road or hit the animal. This decision is a lot to ask of your fleet software.

A human driver in this instance might not be deemed at fault because they could not have avoided the split second decision, but a computer-driven car has software that in theory allows it to make better decisions.

If it was a person that jumped out, who would be liable for the accident? The insurance council  may need to make some policy updates to accommodate this issue.

Price

These vehicles are likely to be more expensive than traditional manually driven cars, and it may take some time before prices drop down.

American estimates place the cost around five times that of the average car, pricing them out of the market for many businesses, according to the Eno Center for Transportation.

The technology will cost around US$100,000 (AU$105,597) per car, ENO research indicated.



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