It’s no surprise to anyone who has followed automotive news in recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) in vehicles is rapidly developing. Already, in-car sensors warn drivers of proximity to other cars and some have driving systems that can automatically apply the brakes to prevent an accident.
A Toyota concept car recently displayed at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas features an artificial intelligence functionality named “Yui.” According to Toyota, Yui is a core functionality that will monitor the driver’s attentiveness, driving patterns, as well as track their schedule and provide other benefits.
Could AI in our vehicles help us prevent accidents? Will it help alert us if we are speeding or driving while drowsy? Will it know if we are distracted behind the wheel and remind us to be alert?
With this new technology, the automaker is looking to create a stronger relationship between the vehicle and the driver. Toyota’s tagline is, “Less of a machine, more of a pal.”
Who’s Actually Driving – The Car or the Motorist?
As technology improves, the question is often posed, “Am I driving the car, or is this car driving me?” In the case of Toyota’s new offering, biometric sensors in the vehicle, the Concept-i, will sense the driver’s emotions and will respond to how the driver is feeling throughout the trip. If a driver is emotionally distraught, for example, the AI could suggest that the driver let the AI take over and drive to the person’s destination. Features like this are designed with driver comfort and safety in mind, and may ultimately prevent accidents from happening.
The biometric sensors can also help detect if a person is sleepy and “jiggle” them to wake up, and can even adjust the driver’s seat to make it more comfortable for them if they are anxious. These automatic features may be helpful in reducing driver stress and distraction and may be what some drivers need to help make sure they are alert and attentive on the road.
But what happens if the AI does not function properly? What if these biometric sensors take the wrong action? Who is responsible for an accident caused by an AI-driven car? All of these critical legal questions will undoubtedly become more important as these vehicles go from concept to reality.
It isn’t just Toyota that is focusing on AI in vehicles, either. Honda has recently partnered with technology company Softbank to develop better in-vehicle AI for vehicle safety. Ford has also pursuing artificial intelligence, investing in the company Argo AI in the hopes that the automaker can debut its first autonomous vehicle in 2021, according to a story on Futurism. And those are but a few examples.
AI integrations may also help automakers create safer cars and more secure driving experiences. With the buzz around “big data” increasing every day, it is easy to see how monitoring driving patterns and driving behavior could help automakers identify the safe habits of the very best drivers and can enhance those features in cars’ intelligent systems. AI and predictive learning technologies may indeed make conditions safer for everyone on the road.
Legal Responsibility for Car Accidents Involving AI
Major automakers are investing billions of dollars in artificial intelligence for vehicles. However, questions are emerging about safety and how effective these new technologies will be. If you experience an accident with an autonomous or semi-autonomous car, and you are seriously hurt, who may be held responsible? Is it the owner of the vehicle? Does it include the manufacturer and members of the distribution chain, as in a product defect case?
Also, will drivers be able to blame their vehicle’s AI for failing to keep them awake if they fall asleep behind the wheel and cause a severe injury accident? Do they have a claim if the vehicle’s biometric sensors failed to detect that they were driving while distracted or emotionally upset? A litany of legal concerns may follow this technology from the factory to the road, and ultimately to the courtroom.
To learn more about the new technologies being presented by automakers, there is an excellent story on Business Insider that discusses Toyota’s push to integrate emotion-sensing technology into its vehicles. To learn more about Toyota’s Concept-i vehicle and Yui artificial intelligence, see Toyota’s website.
Get Help from Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
If you want to know more about driver responsibility, especially when it comes to serious injury accidents, look no further than the experienced Sacramento car accident lawyers of Demas Law Group. For nearly 25 years, our recognized trial attorneys have fought on behalf of injured individuals in Sacramento and across Northern California.
Our track record of success speaks to our dedication to our clients’ needs. We believe in providing personalized attention to each of our clients. We are always vigilant, especially when it comes to new technologies like artificial intelligence in vehicles. We are hopeful that the technology could keep us safer on the road, but we know that new problems are likely to arise.
To learn more about how our firm can help you if you have been injured in a car accident in Sacramento or surrounding communities, contact an experienced, compassionate member of our team by phone or online today. The consultation is free and comes with no obligations on your part.