Self-Driving Cars and Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

car accident

Everywhere we turn, we see the development of technologies which are bringing us closer and closer to a world of self-driving cars. Most automakers and experts agree that by 2020, we’ll see some form of fully autonomous cars on our roads – but there are a number of legal and insurance related questions to sort out before we’ll be able to purchase a car that drives itself.

The vast majority of accidents are caused by human error, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so it’s widely acknowledged that self-driving cars would eliminate almost all traffic accidents. However, while we can eliminate human error and drastically reduce the number of accidents, we can’t eliminate accidents altogether.

When a driverless car can’t avoid a crash, the question of who, or what, is at fault, becomes a complex legal issue. Bloomberg Businessweek points out that the RAND study predicts an increased liability for auto manufacturers, and a decrease in personal liability. The result? A decline in insurance company revenue.

Though that kind of shift would certainly effect our economy, drivers are giddy at the prospect of saving serious money with their insurance companies. A carinsurance.com study found that 90 percent of drivers would consider switching to a self-driving car in exchange for a lower cost of car insurance.

Let us know in the comments: would you buy a self-driving car in exchange for lower insurance rates?

Here at James Ceranti Nissan, we can’t yet offer a self-driving car, but we can show you our lineup of safe, technology-packed cars. Stop by today!

Nissan Takes the Autonomous Drive LEAF to the Highway

Autonomous Drive LEAFWith the all-electric LEAF, Nissan became an industry-leader for electric vehicles. Nissan is once again a leader in the automotive world as its all-electric, autonomous LEAF took to Japan’s public highways for the first time last month.

Last year, the Autonomous Drive LEAF was the first vehicle to be issued a Japanese license (meaning we are now one step closer to the inevitable robot takeover), and they have been putting that license to good use ever since.

Not long ago, the fully-autonomous vehicle took Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, for a drive around the National Diet Front Garden.

Several days ago, the LEAF drove Kanagawa prefecture’s governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, on the Sagami Expressway near the “Sagami Robot Industry Special Zone.” The setting was fitting as other advanced-technology projects are being developed and tested in the area.

The vehicle merged onto the highway and reached speeds of 80 kilometers, which is about 50 miles per hour, passing slower moving cars.

The success of this test drive is further evidence of how close Nissan is to reaching its goal of bringing a fully autonomous vehicle to market in 2020.

What do you think about owning Nissan’s fully autonomous vehicle in the near future? Let us at James Ceranti Nissan know in the comments below.

See the Self-Driving Car in Action

Nissan LEAFLast month we blogged about Nissan’s promise to deliver market introduction of Autonomous Drive by 2020. Now, we are featuring a video clip from one of the very first public demonstrations of Nissan’s self-driving-car technology in Japan!

The demo is from Japan’s CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) where companies come to strut their stuff in terms of technological, electronic, and IT developments and advancements. Last year, Nissan debuted self-parking technology; this year, the automaker outdid itself (and everyone else) with an all-electric LEAF equipped with Autonomous Drive and a large driving track on which it could be demonstrated and experienced.

With five cameras and five laser sensors, the self-driving LEAF was able to navigate the road at speeds of up to 45 mph, make turns at proper speeds, identify road markers, determine direction, move around a parked vehicle, and wow all in attendance.

Not surprisingly, Nissan’s Autonomous Drive technology took home the top CEATEC Innovation Award for 2013. We still have seven years to wait for Nissan’s estimated mastery of the self-driving car, but we couldn’t be more excited to go along for the ride and watch the technology grow. Be sure to watch the video below!

Self-Driving Nissans in 2020

Self-Driving NissansNissan is getting a lot of attention from auto industry fans and tech gurus alike with a recent announcement promising autonomous vehicles by 2020. Yes, it’s what it sounds like. Autonomous, as in self-driving. Self-driving, as in sit back, and enjoy the ride.

In a recent press release, Nissan guaranteed market introduction of Autonomous Drive technology by 2020. In the report, CEO Carlos Ghosn explains that Nissan’s confidence in meeting that deadline stems from success in establishing the LEAF as the world’s top-selling zero-emission EV. “Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it,” Ghosn claimed.

Bearing in mind that over 90% of car accidents are the result of human error, the prospect of a self-driving vehicle is extremely attractive. Nissan’s press release illuminates the grim details, noting that more than six million crashes occur in the United States per year. In fact, car accidents are the leading killer of Americans from the ages of four to 34.

Therein lies Nissan’s motivation. As long as humans control cars, there will be collisions and accidents. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be perfect. Nissan is planning to effectively reduce the necessary amount of input from the driver to help us stay safe on the road.

Nissan is currently working with the brilliant minds at MIT, Stanford, Oxford, and many other universities and institutions known for their technological prowess. According to the press release, testing grounds with real road conditions and geographic configurations are being constructed in Japan, and production and testing have been initialized to explore the strengths and limitations of current tech specs.

The future of transportation is right around the corner! Until then, we’ll keep driving our Nissans ourselves—come find the perfect one for you at James Ceranti Nissan!

Will Human Drivers Become a Thing of the Past, Thanks to Autonomous Cars?

Autonomous robot carWith the advances in autonomous (self driving) vehicles, many people can’t help but wonder, “Can a robot really keep me safer than I could keep myself?” Not only are drivers asking themselves this, but lawyers have perked up it as well. After cigarettes, motorized vehicles are the next most dangerous consumer product on the market.

While the soon-to-arrive vehicles are sure to save countless lives because of this, a host of legal opportunities will emerge with regards to product liability, design defects, negligence and foreseeable harm. After all, who wants to be the first person to trust a car to drive them to work, while they sleep in the seat? To limit liabilities, the auto producing companies will need to have laws enacted to curb their legal exposure. And sadly, even if it hinders technology advancements, the systems will need to be locked down so their software cannot be overridden or modified by the user.

Autonomous cars are expected to hit the market in the next three to five years. Are consumers ready for such a change? Is the law system? Stay tuned for more details! For more info on the latest lineup of new Nissans, visit our inventory site.