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Everybody has heard about driver-less cars (e.g. the successful Google experiment) or semi-automated car driving technology - relying on advanced data science and analytics to help human drivers avoid collisions.

Nobody expects robots to be perfect, they might actually be worse than very good human drivers. You would expect that sometimes they make mistakes resulting in traffic violations or car accidents.

Who pays the bill when this happens?

Also could this technology be used to track human driving behavior in real time and automatically send tickets for violations? In other words, what happens when manufacturers of driving monitoring technology or car manufacturers allow police departments to access the data collected on all cars equipped with this technology?

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Interestingly, the technology for sending tickets for speeding on toll highways is very simple - just compare the entry and exit times with distance and if average speed is over the limit, give a ticket.  It will not catch all speeders, but many.

However it is not used - perhaps because people will be very unhappy from such privacy invasion.

In the case of averaging speed to determine if someone is over the limit, I think they would have to more specific.  Namely, the government would have to show where, when, and how fast I was going.  I don't think "someplace between Exit 10 and Exit 100 (some 90 miles), and sometime between 10AM and 11:30, he was going faster than 55MPH" is going to cut it.


BTW, if my math is correct, I think that would be going 60 in a 55.  We also don't know if I was driving 60 the entire time or going 120 for a few miles then going 30 or even stopped for awhile.  Not that driving below the speed limit legally cancels speeding, but I think there would be too much variability to make a solid legal case.


Your comment about unhappy people is dead on, however.  A friend of mine belongs to a car club.  The club decided to make point about speed limit laws.  They drove I-465 around Indianapolis, one driver in each lane abreast so no one could pass.  They repeated with another set of drivers about a half mile back.  The drove exactly the speed limit.  They did this during evening rush hour and they caused huge traffic jams and generally pissed a lot of people off.


It seems we speed in most places at most times.  It will be very interesting to see how traffic patterns are affected when autonomous vehicles are strictly adhearing to traffic laws.  This will be especially interesting when autonomous is mixed with manual drivers.

In most places we have a right to face our accusers. Or is this a basic civil right?  In any case, if such data is supplied to the government, someone will have to show up in court if the driver decides to contest the citation.  They may streamline the ticketing process, but the overall legal process may still, and probably should, remain the same.


Interestingly, this week a truck driver severely damaged a 100 year old covered bridge here in Northern Indiana and tried to blame his GPS.  He claimed his GPS sent him over the wood bridge instead of the new concrete hiway bridge 50 yards downstream.



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