It’s very important to know exactly what goes wrong when something does go wrong with a self driving car. Why? Because it’s not just one or two lives at stake, but millions, as the technology takes off. That’s why German authorities want to implement a sort of “black box” on self driving cars.
The German transport ministry has proposed new legislation, that requires autonomous cars to have a black box, similar to the ones on airplanes. The same proposal asks for the riders to stay seated in front of the steering wheel, even when they don’t need to be steering. It all comes as a follow-up to the first Tesla Autopilot (supposedly) related fatality.
We’ve seen more and more regulators and traffic safety organizations lobbying for stricter rules on self driving. Back to the black boxes, those would record data when the self driving modes are turned on and log every action, including taking over for manual driving or activating the autonomous mode. Interestingly, the black box is a redundancy, because companies like Google or Tesla already log the data onto their servers.
Getting your hands on that data is trickier in lawsuits, so that’s the REAL purpose of the black box, an item that would easily get to the authorities. Of course, the law is only a draft right now in Germany, so let’s see if it passes.