It has recently been reported that Apple is in talks with major car companies over the possibility of building what is being called in the news as an “Apple Car”. This car is reported to be a self-driving vehicle equipped with Apple technology. This is also an exciting prospect given the fact that Google has been testing self-driving cars on California roadways in the past few years and recently unveiled a prototype in 2014. State laws have yet to catch up with these technological advances and it appears as though California will lead the way.
As of early 2015, California lawmakers are scrambling to get regulations passed that will determine how these cars should be tested and what kind of safety standards should be imposed. Fortunately, the current regulations can cover most of the technical build of the car. However, it is still being decided if a driver needs to be in the driver’s seat while the vehicle is in operation.
Another concern is the issue of privacy. As car sales and driver’s licenses have declined among Millennials, Google and Apple hope to fill the gap for urban transportation with the increase of rideshare services. The eventual goal is for these cars to be driverless taxis for urban dwellers. It has been speculated that in lieu of money for the services, the cars will collect the personal information of its users which can be used to monitor individual consumer habits. Since this is all imagined at this point, it is difficult to see if current privacy laws will be enough to protect consumers from having their personal identities revealed with this information. As it stands, privacy laws still have much to improve upon and consumers must be proactive enough to demand that laws be updated to protect them.
A final concern is the possibility of hackers. This is a serious concern as hackers may take over the functions of the vehicle. Lawmakers need to anticipate this and have backup features in place. If a car full of non-licensed drivers is hacked, what will be the new safety features?
Personal injury attorneys may be very busy when the first accidents begin to appear. The issues of liability may be on the manufacturer instead of the owner or “driver” of the vehicle. This can change accident law and make it longer and more difficult for attorneys to collect settlements for routine accidents on behalf of their clients.
Until many of these issues are resolved, perhaps the traditional car will be around for a few more years.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.