Are you familiar with cars that move without a driver? After inputting the destination, the car will take the passenger to the destination. These cars are called ‘Autonomous Vehicles’. The autonomous vehicle drives itself to the destination after receiving directions without a driver’s intervention. The car makes use of various technologies such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC). Use of an autonomous vehicle is claimed to prevent reckless driving and save time, so passengers can make better use of the drive. However, the problem is its safety record. On March 23, a Tesla Model X hit a median strip and exploded on a highway in the California State in the U.S. The car was an autonomous vehicle. The Tesla Model has made two autonomous vehicle accidents since 2016. In addition to the Tesla, a Volvo XC90 of Uber had an accident because of not recognizing a person. These examples clearly show that autonomous vehicles are not completely safe yet. The more important issue is who will take responsibility for the accidents. Korea has a mindset to establish the commercialization of autonomous vehicles by 2020, but companies are only asking manufacturing companies to ensure the safety of the vehicles, evading all responsibility. Then, what is occurring in other
countries? Japan prepared a law discusses ‘A means of system improvements for autonomous driving’. The draft legislation states that the driver will be held responsible for any accident under a level 3 when a driver is seated in the vehicle. Germany states that the person seated in the driver seat must bear the responsibility for any accident. Only when the black box records images of errors by the autonomous driving system will the company be held responsible. Unlike Germany, and Japan Korea has not set up any measures for taking responsibility when accidents happen. Even though autonomous vehicles have a high safety record, responsibility issues will be a huge problem when accidents happen. With this issue, what should be done to handle accidents by autonomous vehicles? The problem should be addressed from both a technological and social view. From a technological view, ASCC and LKAS have seen much improvement. Also, technologies such as map navigation and voice recognition developed from artificial intelligence are a must to better autonomous vehicles. Second, from a social view, there will be problems such as low trust in the vehicles’ safety, the complex accident process, security issues caused by hacking. In other words, when accidents happen, who is more responsible to the issue of autonomous vehicles? The owner of the car or the person who was harmed by the car? As these issues show, there are still plenty of issues that need to be discussed. Therefore, now is the time for companies to discuss the vehicles, and then after solving errors, vehicle manufactures should prove they have created safe autonomous vehicles.
Shim Jaewoo, “Despite Several Accidents, the Keyword of among Future Cars is ‘Autonomous Driving’…Acceleration among the Competition”, JTBC News, April 2, 2018