Autonomous racing? Robot cars racing each other, humans programming them, and no risk to humans involved in 199 MPH collisions? Sounds like a video game, but it’s real. And it looks awesome. Roborace will pit self-driving race cars against each other, and the design in this link is a 2,149 pound beauty (when you don’t have to design for a human occupant, the designs are insane). It is an electric Formula E circuit, so four 300-kW electric motors power each wheel. We will totally watch this.
If the words “tort law”, “computer tortfeasors”, and “negligence standards” get you excited (particularly all the attorneys out there), you may want to read this deep dive into autonomous law. The author argues that computer tortfeasors (i.e. autonomous vehicles or automated machines) should be held to a negligence standard rather than the strict liability standard which governs them today, but not for product liability cases against the manufacturers of these robots. (Ok, I may have lost everyone else now so I’m just speaking to the attorneys). The author further proposes that computers that demonstrate they are safer than humans at the same task (i.e. driving, diagnosing cancer, conducting legal due diligence, providing legal translation, etc.) should actually become the new standard of care. Whoa! Defendants would no longer have their liability based on what a hypothetical, reasonable person would have done in their situation, but what a computer would have done.
Definitely an interesting perspective.
If you are interested in more information about the future of autonomous vehicles, email Shawn Harrington at CrashAxe@arcca.com.
SHAWN HARRINGTON, BSESM, ACTAR, is an Accident Reconstructionist and Forensic Scientist at ARCCA, specializing in accident analysis/reconstruction, pedestrian/vehicle collisions, occupant crash protection and crash safety.