A Tesla turn signal may solve the issue of fault for the inevitable driverless car accidents to come. Say you’re in an autonomous vehicle that makes a turn and collides with another autonomous vehicle. How can you tell which driver is “at fault” where both cars were being operated by a computer? We’ve already talked about how this issue may well disrupt the auto insurance industry, but given that Tesla Motors may soon be including semi-autonomous features in its vehicles, it is not surprise that they’ve come up with a possible solution. Dubbed the “Tesla turn signal,” it would requires a driver to depress a signal before the car would execute a turn or pass another vehicle, making sure that a motorist actually thinks about the maneuver before the car does it. This kind of driver involvement would supposedly allow the insurance industry to assign fault in the event of a collision.
Self-driving cars are becoming more acceptable to American motorists, according to a survey last October of 1,500 U.S. drivers. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said it was “likely” or “very likely” they would buy a semi-autonomous vehicle for some of their driving. It has already been documented that self-driving cars will lower insurance rates, in much the way as having anti-lock brakes or being an accident-free driver. What was surprising in this survey was that the expectation of lower insurance premiums was the principal reason the drivers gave for purchasing a self-driving car.