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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Who's responsible when an autonomous car crashes?

Tesla owner in Autopilot crash won't sue, but car insurer might, reports Automotive News. The car drove into a barrier on a stretch of road in rural Texas which the owner had often let the car navigate before. He suffered nothing more than a bloody nose, thank goodness, but has the distinction of being one of the first people to cause the question of liablity to be posed.

Tesla market their Autopilot function as an "assist feature", saying that drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel and be prepared to take over control - although one might criticise the choice of trade name, which might give a rather different impression. In fact, today (22 August) The Guardian reports that Tesla has changed the name under which it markets the stuff in China, from something that loosely translates as "self-driving" to something like "driver assist". This follows an accident in China where the non-driver said he'd relied on Tesla calling the system “zidong jiashi” (自动驾驶, I think), which can be translated as "self-driving" but which can also be translated as "autopilot", which (being the word they use in English) is presumably what they intended. It certainly demonstrates the problems that translations can create, and there are commentators on the Internet saying that the Chinese crash was the result of a bad translation. Apparently Tesla's Chinese website uses the English word Autopilot but now also has the words "zidong fuzhu jiashi" (Autopilot 自动辅助驾驶) which translates as "automatic assist driving", or "automatic auxiliary drive (according to Yandex Translate) - I guess the 辅助 ("fuzhu") makes all the difference.

'via Blog this'

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