‘Who will be held accountable in case of driverless car accidents?’

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 23, 2021

A Distinguished Fellow of the IIT Robert Bosch Centre says one must question if the manufacturer of the vehicle or the developer of the tech will take accountability in such cases

While autonomous vehicles are gaining momentum globally, legal scholars are figuring out who will be held accountable if there is an accident involving such a vehicle, said Srinivasan Parthasarathy, Distinguished Fellow, IIT Madras Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI) in a fireside chat with researchers on Thursday.

Also read: IIT Hyderabad sets up ‘TiHAN-IIT’ testbed for autonomous navigation systems

He asked, “If a company manufactures autonomous vehicles and if it gets into an accident, who is liable? If it turns out to be the fault of the driverless car, is the manufacturer liable? Is the developer of the AI technology or manufacturer of the chips liable?”

Legal responsibility

“I don’t think legal scholars have an answer to this question yet. This is a legal question, and people have to think about it carefully. Legal scholars across the world are looking at this,” said Parthasarathy, who is a Professor at Department of Computer Science and Technology and Department of Biomedical Informatics, Ohio State University, on Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Ethics.

Also read: On auto drive

On data privacy, Parthasarathy said that in the current Covid-19 pandemic, there is a lot of data sharing going on for overall social good and community health. Two years ago, people would not be have been this comfortable, he said.

Companies are worried about data ethics. They want to make sure that their consumers are happy, that the reputation is intact and trust plays a very important role here. In some cases, the corporate structure has strong inherent values and that plays a role in their ethics plans and incorporating ideas that are increasingly common like CSR or doing things for social good, he said.

Published on January 22, 2021

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