Self-driving vehicles, also known as robotic or driverless cars, are on their way to being a regular sight on our highways soon. Sensors and software are used to guide, navigate, and drive these vehicles. Completely self-driving vehicles are those in which the driver is never forced to take charge of the vehicle for it to function safely.
There are currently no fully autonomous cars running lawfully on UK highways. Manufacturers like Tesla, BMW, and Nissan, on the other hand, provide features that can partially automate the driving process.
These include devices that keep the car in its path, regulate its speed, and maintain a reasonable distance between it and the vehicle ahead of it. Completely autonomous vehicles are scheduled to take part in advanced trials on Britain’s roads before the end of this year, according to recent media reports.
Autonomy in Layers
Different cars have varying degrees of self-driving capability, which is often defined on a scale of 0 to 5:
Stage 0: All big processes are under human influence.
Stage 1: The vehicle can control such systems, such as cruise control or automatic braking, one at a time.
Stage 2: The vehicle has at least two automatic systems running at the same time, such as braking and steering, but it also needs people to operate safely.
Stage 3: Under such circumstances, the vehicle can handle all safety-critical tasks, but the driver is required to take over when notified.
Stage 4: The vehicle is completely autonomous in some, but not all, driving conditions.
Stage 5: In any case, the vehicle is entirely capable of self-driving.
Self-driving technology, though still in its infancy, is becoming more popular and has the potential to completely change our transportation infrastructure.
Who is responsible if these vehicles collide?
There have been a series of fatal collisions involving autonomous cars in the United States recently. A pedestrian was hit by a self-driving car in Arizona in March 2018. A vehicle on autopilot crashed in California the same month, killing the driver who had taken his hands off the wheel for just a few seconds. Another crash occurred after “autopilot” failed to identify a truck approaching the highway, resulting in the driver’s death.
If you have been wondering who will take charge of these situations as personal injury solicitors in the UK? To cope with this emerging infrastructure on our highways, the government has enacted regulations.
The Autonomous and Electric Vehicles (AEV) Act of 2018 is now in effect, and it mandates that insurance providers handle all claims, even though the car is in automated technology mode. If the applicable party fails to keep the required software up to date, insurers have a right of restitution against the manufacturer and the right to remove responsibility.
The purpose of the AEV Act is to hold motor insurers solely responsible for injuries and damages incurred by autonomous vehicles on UK public roads.
Where it is determined that the crash was caused by a mechanical flaw, the insurers must pay the deceased victim or claimants before seeking financial damages from the car manufactures. In principle, this can make seeking coverage for innocent victims of road collisions relatively easy. In reality, though, things can not be so easy.
According to a government statement from Baroness Sugg, the AEV Act’s strict liability is not meant to protect Level 3 automation, which necessitates the involvement of a backup driver who can assume over if necessary and respond rapidly to a device warning.
This creates a grey area leaving scope for potentially costly and protracted legal argument over liability between insurers, manufacturers, service garages, drivers and lawyers, probably at the expense of the injured road accident victims.
There are going to be some turns and twists in the road ahead for autonomous vehicles and it remains to be seen whether the government will deliver on its promise of automatic compensation for victims of automated failure.
Besides experiencing autonomous cars on UK’s roads or highways, if you have already been looking for professional lawyers to file your claim for any car accident. You can be assured that you are in good hands when coming to Hamilton Douglas Claims because we only work with Scotland’s top-rated personal injury lawyers. Unlike most law firms that deal with a variety of legal issues, our top-rated personal injury lawyers in Edinburgh only deal with personal injury claims. This is what sets us apart from the rest of the firms dealing with personal injury, along with our dedication.