Regulation and technological development

According to WHO, each year, road accidents worldwide kills about 1.3 million people and injure 40 times (between 25 and 50 million injured, especially young people aged 15-29 years). To remedy the unreasonable use of cars without affecting the technology in the economy and in employment, the political alternative is to change constantly the standards of the road network and strengthen the legal rules relating to responsibility of car manufacturers and drivers.

In 2016, appears the Internet of Things, which gives a new answer to these problems. The IoT will enable the technology to make more respectful road infrastructure with autonomous vehicles. Electronics respects the traffic lights code, with greater accuracy than human vision struggling with shadows and reflections. By replacing human pilots subject to error, by computer technology that drivers react faster, the United States should be able to avoid 5 million accidents, saving 30 000 deaths per year, 2 million injuries, saving hundreds billions of dollars in lost productivity and many others.  The Google autonomous driving cars prototypes are already on the streets in Mountain View, California and Austin, Texas. Twenty car manufacturers are preparing similar tests on roads. In case of accident, who will be judged and penalized? The manufacturer, the software editor or the car driver ?

The law recommends drivers to keep their hands near the steering wheel and keep their eyes on the road. If necessary, beeps signal the entourage that the vigilance of the driver is relaxing. The new vehicles are not completely autonomous and road infrastructure must also comply with a new set of rules. To date, in Google cars that were involved in 17 accidents, the robot was never at fault. And no pirate has manifested to block the vehicles.
Worldwide, the legal landscape is a hodgepodge. In some states, for example, cars are allowed in autonomous driving on public roads as a human driver on alert sits behind the wheel. In other countries, tests are only possible on designated roads. In Europe, car tests and even semi-autonomous driving trailers were allowed. The UK and Japan have conducted tests and began studying road related regulations.

In case of liability in litigation, the US Department of Justice reported that median damages in cases of automobile accidents amount to about 16 000 dollars, compared to 748 thousand dollars for the case of liability on industrial products. This diversity of attitudes of justice discourages manufacturers. The progress of IoT with regard to the smart car now depends on how the regulation will take into account the collision possibilities. The IoT provides the means to significantly reduce the number of road accidents, reducing of a thousand the cost factor attached to them. For this development, a new regulation of the industry responsibility is needed. Also visit http://spectrum.ieee.org/

Daniel BATTU

Editor

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