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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Terrorism by vehicle

How awful it was that 12 people were killed, apparently on purpose, by someone using a stolen lorry as a weapon. But actually, how awful?

To assess awfulness, we have to make a comparison, and the obvious figure to compare, is how many people were killed on the roads in Germany? In 2013, there were 3540 road deaths.

That's about 10 per day.

I have to say that this is a *much* bigger problem than the recent crime in Berlin. And that is why we need self-driving cars, and we need them as soon as possible.

Our legislators have to move urgently to create law on liability in case of accidents (because there surely will be some). If I'm a passenger, then I have no liability, but if something goes wrong, then it may well be that no-one is at fault (for example, if the car is struck by lightning), or that someone is at fault, in which case is it the car manufacturer, the software designer, or who? With that legislated, insurance becomes possible, and the costs can be built in to the price of the  vehicle.

The biggest incentive is the much lower accident and death rates we'll get when cars are driven by software that doesn't get distracted, doesn't fall asleep, doesn't drive while drunk and doesn't text on phones while driving.

And it should also be feasible to make it impossible to hijack a lorry and drive it into a crowd.

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