6/20/2014

Germany Considers Data Recorders for Self-Driving Cars

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Carmakers in Germany are pondering the merit of equipping future self-driving cars with data recorders to help fix liability if such vehicles crash, Reuters reports.

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Carmakers in Germany are pondering the merit of equipping future self-driving cars with data recorders to help fix liability if such vehicles crash, Reuters reports.

The idea is being debated by a continuing government-hosted roundtable on autonomous driving.

Current German law makes no distinction in determining liability between a fully autonomous car and one with limited self-driving capabilities, Reuters says. Insurers favor a "black box" system that can show whether the vehicle, its driver or a third party was primarily responsible for a crash.

German carmakers agree with the concept. But determining who has access to a vehicle's data is a sensitive topic in the country, which tightly guards privacy. Reuters says the roundtable's consensus is that control of data generated by the driver should reside with the driver.

VDA, the country's auto industry trade group, is holding talks in search of a common position about vehicle data rights. Observers say resolving such questions will play a critical role in determining when and how autonomous vehicles are deployed.