One of my students is writing a paper about the legal implications of self-driving cars, such as the prototype developed by Google. There are many interesting questions that flow from this technology, which will probably be the standard in cars by the time I’m old.
Here’s one example. Suppose a self-driving car gets into an accident with a car driven by a person. Would this be a res ipsa loquitur situation with respect to the driven car owner’s liability? Obviously, that depends on the error rate of the self-driving cars as compared to human error, but it raises a bigger issue. Is driving an art that involves making inferences about what other cars and drivers will do, or is it a science that relates to speed and distance where a computer is vastly superior? How, for instance, will self-driving cars handle 4-way stops?
I’ll continue the futurist thread tomorrow with more on 3-D printing.