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Who is watching the watcher?

With Nevada’s ground breaking approval of autonomous truck operations tempered by the need to have a driver for complex situations it appears that a major milestone has been reached albeit in a state where distance is a bigger challenge than congestion.  Moving ahead, forthcoming 5G standards will allow high speed data transfer between interconnected vehicles and open limitless possibilities for real-time traffic management.

Network coverage and bandwidth niceties aside, the increasing use of technology to augment systems is both fantastic and problematic as illustrated when recently driving a car whose rear camera froze showing a clear road and not the person walking behind.  Force of habit (i.e. looking over the shoulder) prevented an accident but the question is who would be liable?  Vehicle manufacturer? 3rd party informatics supplier ?  With no proof that the system malfunctioned and crucially no record the buck would have stopped with the driver.

This is fine as long as everyone understands the rules but at some point class action lawsuits will fly.  If the fundamental system architecture can’t prove what happened, then everything built on top is flawed.  Millions of control decisions per second quickly spiral and unless raw data & context is preserved then the burden of proof and the efficacy of the system will always be questioned.

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