The Mayor has spoken. He wants to see driver-less cars on Portland's streets and highways. However, I think this is a little premature. This is because, "It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt."
Liability issues with these driver-less cars has yet to be adequately addressed here in Oregon. Eventually one of these vehicles will get involved in a serious crash on an Oregon road. If a person is injured in the crash unique liability issues are going to spring up. Who is responsible for the crash in the crash asserts it was the driver-less' cars fault? What happens if the vehicle suffers a mechanical failure or a software failure that causes the crash? If that issue arises usually the injured person has no choice but to file a lawsuit, because none of the corporations that have been involved in these crashes will accept responsibility.
My biggest concern, is the owner and manufacturer of any driver-less car involved in a crash will do anything and everything to deny any liability for causing the crash. This is due to the fact that the public will lose any trust with the driver-less car industry if the driver-less car causes a crash or injury. We are already sceptacle of these machines, as every machine will eventually break or malfunction. However, billion dollar industries rest on the success of these machines. As a result, if there is any way corporations can protect this emerging industry they will do so. This will mean they will likely fight tooth and nail and force people to file lawsuits that claim it was the driver-less vehicle's fault. Hopefully, the CIty of Portland and the Oregon Legislature can draft laws to protect other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclist from an incident with a driver-less vehicle.
If you or someone you know are injured by a driver-less vehicle or autonomous vehicle, call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.