Tag Archives: Vehicle

Where Does Liability Lie With Self Driving Technology

 

When new technology is introduced new standards and rules need to be set. A proposal has made its way to the Florida State Senate that, if passed, would set new insurance requirements for drivers working with app-based transportation network companies — a product created very recently in response to the growing popularity of services such as Uber and Lyft. Measures like this are created to ensure victims of auto accidents can obtain compensation, as well as to protect the party at fault from financial ruin. While the matter of ride-sharing had a relatively straightforward solution, the oncoming shift to self-driving cars produces a tougher problem for the insurance industry and legislators alike .

Autonomous vehicles confuse the issue of liability. If two drivers of traditional cars get into an accident, the personal insurance policy of the party at fault will cover the property and bodily damages sustained by the victim. But what happens if the at fault vehicle was being operated by a computer? Presently, the answer is unclear. According to a report byBusiness Insider Intelligence, as much as 10 million cars will be outfitted with self-driving features by the year 2020. If true, this does not leave much time to come up with a solution to the liability issue.

“Somehow or another we need a mechanism to allow for compensation from auto accidents” says Marc Mayerson, a lawyer and adjunct professor of Insurance Law at Georgetown University. Mayerson adds, “In theory self-driving cars would not create negligence liability for the passenger/non-driver/owner of the car.”

For most drivers, liability coverage accounts for a large part of their auto insurance bill. Repairing physical damage to your own vehicle is a drop in the bucket compared to the risk of paying hospital bills or court fees when you injure another individual. Just as we’re beginning to see laws for ride-share insurance requirements emerge in states like Florida, similar requirements for personal policies have existed since as early as the 1920’s. In California, for example, drivers are required to carry at least $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, and $30,000 per accident. Plus, the state mandates a minimum of $5,000 property damage coverage.

If liability is taken out of the equation, it stands to reason personal auto insurance premiums for owners of self-driving cars would become much lower. At that point, who would shoulder the bill for liability? “One model would be to have the car manufacturer bear all the liability and impose that liability simply based on the autonomous car’s being a substantial cause of the injury,” Mayerson suggests. If an accident is the result of the computer’s failure, it becomes reasonable to assume the fault would then lie with the manufacturer.

Insurance costs being passed down to automakers aren’t necessarily good news for consumers, however. If the car manufacturers are facing increased operating costs due to liability concerns, they may make up for that by increasing the price of the vehicles. In other words, while autonomous vehicle owners may save money on their insurance policies, the cost may end up trickling down to the price of their new ride.

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Wishing For A White Christmas? Then The Best Snow Tires Will Come In Handy

Almost everybody has at one time experienced terrible driving conditions where they skidded on black ice or couldn’t see through the snowfall where snow tires allowed him or her to arrive safely.

Assuming you don’t read Suomi, the language of Finland that sounds like a mashup of Dutch and Klingon, there are few road signs you will understand when you’re 186 miles above the Arctic Circle. But one announcing that Murmansk, Russia, is 188 miles away gets your attention, reminding you just how far north you are. Murmansk is a Cold War relic on the Arctic Ocean—to Soviet submarine warfare what Cape Canaveral is to spaceflight. These days, the Russian Northern Fleet occasionally moors nearby.

Then another sign we can read pops up on the left: “Test World Oy.” Oh yeah, we’re here to test some winter tires. Murmansk will have to wait. We have a cold war of our own to deal with.

The Test World Mellatracks proving grounds is a facility that offers year-round testing on natural snow, as opposed to the man-made stuff. During winter months it operates like any other automotive proving grounds, but with frozen canals and snow-packed fields standing in for the concrete and asphalt you find at more-temperate venues. In early spring, Test World stockpiles snow, filling its two buildings with about two feet of packed, natural white stuff, enough to last the entire indoor-testing season. We headed up to the refrigerated covered complex in late summer, as we wanted this story to appear in time for you to take advantage of its findings for the winter soon to be upon us.

The Indoor 1 building is a 525-foot-by-52-foot pole barn of packed snow that includes a lane of Zamboni-maintained ice. Indoor 2 contains a 0.2-mile, 30-foot-wide squiggly handling ­circuit. Both buildings have cooling circuits in the floor and chilled forced-air ductwork. On our test day, the inside thermometer read -11, as in degrees Celsius, or 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Tesla May Have Competition From Their Former Employees

Multiple car companies continue to drive towards the finish line in the race to create the latest and most advanced electric car available, but there now is a late comer to the race that might change things up.

Faraday Future, a mysterious electric car startup taking shape in Nissan’s former U.S. sales office in Gardena, said it plans to sell its first vehicle in 2017 and is looking to make a $1-billion investment in a factory.

The company founded by former Tesla Motors employees said Wednesday that it was eyeing several locations, including California, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada, but is keeping the source of its development funds and ownership secret.

“There is a significant investor who has an international profile and wants the company to stand on its own merits before making the association,” said Stacy Morris, Faraday’s spokeswoman.

The company, which has about 400 employees, sees itself as a rival to Palo Alto electric car company Tesla.

Its leadership team includes Nick Sampson, the head of vehicle and chassis engineering for the Tesla Model S; Dag Reckhorn, a former Tesla senior manufacturing executive; and several engineers and designers who worked on BMW and General Motors electric cars.

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How Can Your Car Help You To Drive

Car companies, now focus on helping drivers increase their driving experience by adding more features to their new automotive creations, but few drivers know what each and everyone of them are, if they were not mentioned in the commercial how will you know they are there.

While automakers are spending billions of dollars loading up their vehicles with technologies of all kinds, many owners are not using them and would rather use their smartphones instead, according to the first-ever J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report.

The market research firm found that at least 20 percent of new vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features that DrIVE measured. For the consumer, this means they are paying for something they are not using, said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power.

The report looked at driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership and was based on responses from more than 4,200 owners and lessees of 2015-model-year vehicles.

Features that owners did not use

43 percent—In-vehicle concierge feature such as OnStar.
38 percent—Mobile connectivity, such as a factory installed Wi-Fi hot spot.
35 percent—Automatic parking system, which aids in either parallel or perpendicular parking with limited interaction by the driver.
33 percent—Head-up display.
32 percent—Built-in apps such as Pandora.

“Tired and impatient, car buyers just want to get out of the dealership, often without becoming fully oriented with all of their new car’s features,” says Tom Mutchler, Consumer Reports’ automotive human factors engineer. “But many high-tech features aren’t immediately obvious or intuitive, especially when trying to decipher their use for the first time when driving.”

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