The first fatal accident involving a self-driving car has occurred. The 40-year-old man who was killed was “passionate about technological advancement,” according to a statement his family released through a law firm. His Tesla Model S had a nickname of Tessy and he was always praising the “autopilot” system and its safety benefits. The Tesla Model S will soon be sold in Omaha, Nebraska.
The man actually died in Florida, and the statements from the automaker reported that the cameras the car uses couldn’t tell the difference between the white side of a tractor trailer that was turning from that of a brightly lit sky. Therefore, the vehicle didn’t automatically activate its brakes. Only a month earlier, the man had said that the autopilot system in the car had prevented an interstate collision.
The auto industry knew that a self-driving vehicle on autopilot would eventually wreck and cause a fatality. Most of the automakers, though, are worried that such a crash could harm the efforts of fully autonomous cars.
While there has been a lot of discussions on the liability of these vehicles, as well as the moral obligation the developers must have, perhaps it’s time that others start thinking about these vehicles by workers. Will employees working on the job by driving from point A to point B be covered by workers’ compensation? Will employers want to consider even using these vehicles? These are considerations that may need to thought about sooner rather than later.
Until such a time as autonomous cars become part of an employee’s job, the employer may want to consider different variables, such as workers’ compensation, insurance rates and much more.
Source: Nebraska TV, “The Latest: Family hopes fatal Tesla crash spurs innovation,” July 01, 2016