Uber’s and others’ potential liability for the death of a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., hit by a self-driving test vehicle raises complicated legal and data access questions.
Local and federal investigations are just getting underway so the facts aren’t well understood yet in the Uber Technologies crash. But the quick appearance of video from the vehicle’s front-mounted camera points to a significant factor for accident probes and litigation alike in this new age of automated vehicles: the availability and control of vehicle data.
“I haven’t heard any suggestions of this being anything other than a terrible crash incident,” Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, told Bloomberg Law.
But after determining the facts related to the crash, “the question is, is there a defect in the software? In the hardware? If so, is Uber responsible? Is Volvo responsible?” People aren’t ready to wrestle with those questions—and there are no regulations governing the automated systems, he said.
“Dozens” of companies were likely involved in creating the Uber test vehicle’s technology, Levine said.