Whom to Blame for Accidents Involving Driverless Vehicles?

Whom to Blame for Accidents Involving Driverless Vehicles?


Uber self-driving car that killed a pedestrian in the U.S. has raised concerns in the minds of people regarding the reliability of autonomous vehicles. A bigger question that has been raised is: Who could be blamed for self-driving car accidents in case of full or partial autonomy? When it comes to human-driven cars, the blame could be put on the driver since they are in control. However, it is not that clear as to who is to blame for accidents involving autonomous cars. Nevertheless, a research study has proposed a blockchain-based framework that could determine liability in self-driving vehicle accidents.

Blockchain-based Framework Provides Transparent Liability Decisions

Self-driving vehicles are equipped with a wide scope of on-board sensors that measure, monitor, and track everything, which make them information-rich platforms. It could be possible to reconstruct the entire accident scene by retrieving all the sensor data. Thus, liability decisions could be taken with the help of the data collected from autonomous car sensors. However, potentially liable parties could tamper the sensor data using USB and wireless interfaces already supported by latest vehicles. The reason could be the disproportionate control of some of the parties over the data. This calls for the need to record any interactions with the vehicle and tamper-free sensor data.

The challenge of conducting sincere investigation and allowing access to relevant parties is expected to be tackled with the use of blockchain technology. The blockchain-based framework proposed ensures the anonymity of individual vehicle owners and that vehicle owner identities are only accessible to the decision partition group for taking final liability decisions.