German lawmakers want to require black boxes for autonomous cars, report says

Following two confirmed Tesla Autopilot-related crashes in the U.S., including a fatality, German lawmakers are planning legislation that would require carmakers to include a black box for cars.

More commonly associated with aircraft, the proposed black box would record when an autonomous system was engaged, when the car asked the driver to retake driving duties and when a human driver took control or not, according to Reuters.

The intent of this legislation would help both carmakers, regulators and law enforcement officials determine who is responsible in the event of an autonomous car crash.

Both Volvo and Mercedes-Benz have said they will accept responsibility for the actions of its cars when in autonomous driving mode.

I suspect, though, simply knowing when the system was engaged or not won’t be the only factor used to determine fault or responsibility. What if, for example, the driver fails to have needed service or repairs performed on the car and the autonomous system malfunctions as a result?

While it now appears clear that legislators will need to rein in companies like Tesla from acting irresponsibly with its tech, I also fear any laws written that affect autonomous tech could be formulated without a broad understanding of how the systems work.

For example, along with the black box idea, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt also wants legislation to include language that allows the human driver to check out and not pay attention to traffic but also requires them to remain in the driver seat so they can intervene in the case of an emergency.

It simply isn’t realistic to expect a person to go from napping to evasive driving in a split second. Hopefully, Germany’s home country automotive experts—who tend to be conservative players when it comes to autonomous tech— can help guide the legislation so that it’s tied to reality.

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via Mashable http://ift.tt/29NYWtj

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