Who’s In Charge?

Written by Dr. Klaus L. E. Kaiser

If you can trust the media and some companies’ claims, the idea of self-driving (AKA “autonomous”) vehicles is rapidly gaining traction. Now, the U.S. Natl. Safety Transportation Agency (NHTSA) has released a report about a fatal incident, back in May, 2016, that’s said to have been caused by the failure of an autonomously steered vehicle to recognize a light-colored tractor unit against a bright background, as the New York Times and other media report.

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Since then, both the car manufacturer and the NHTSA have emphasized the need for (the human) driver-seat occupant of “driverless cars” to be in control of the vehicle – at all times.

Really, the question must be:

Who, actually, is in Charge?

Somehow, I must have totally misunderstood the whole idea of “driverless vehicles.” If I, as the driver-seat occupant am totally responsible for everything that the autonomous beast does, why do I need – or even want – any autonomous (or is it “automated” ?) “back-seat driver?” Who (if anyone or anything) is in control and responsible for the vehicle?

If it’s some computer in the machine in which you are riding, then it’s likely the manufacturer of that. But if it’s you or me, then, despite all the built-in and tested “fail-safe” technology, you’d better don’t lean back, close your eyes, or do whatever else.

Surely the legal counsels and courts will be busy with arguing that and related questions for a while.  In the future, perhaps, there may even be automated/autonomous court systems that deal with such questions; who knows?

Of course, they also could be faced with the question of ultimate responsibility or superiority:

Man or Machine?

Read more at: canadafreepress.com