Driverless trucks, more so than cars, are likely to penetrate the market early. Early versions of driverless trucks have already crossed the country to make deliveries. Trucks are more viable because they can incorporate, larger more complex computers, they are already connected with numerous sensors for tracking the driver and keeping him in his lane, and they mostly drive on freeways. The primary engineering issues confronting driverless cars is how to deal with the chaos of city driving, not the relative calm of freeways.
Granted on freeways, vehicles operate at higher speeds however traffic is also more predictable. The computer does not need to anticipate pedestrians, bicycles, turning lanes, or the other innumerable issues that come up during city driving. But as these driverless trucks become more common, who is liable if you are injured by one? Is it the driver? The computer?
The Department of Transportation passed a new regulation which identifies the computer as the operator of a driverless vehicle. While this rule may be the fairest, it also introduces complicated legal issues for victims to overcome. The basic effect of these regulations is to shift accident cases from negligence (which is relatively easy to prove) into products liability (which is significantly more complex).
Products liability allows you to file a claim against any company involved in the design, manufacture, or sale of the computer. In theory, you could sue multiple companies for your injuries. That may sound like an advantage however, in order to recover, you must prove that there was a defect in the software. That means you need to identify a flaw or prove that a different, better, cheaper version was available. Investigating and proving that claim is time-consuming and expensive and could foreclose many valid cases from pursuing compensation.
If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident, you should contact an attorney for assistance. Driverless trucks are years away from fulling penetrating the market but that day will come soon. A lawyer can help you investigate the accident and determine the best strategy to pursue compensation. You don't want to get bulled into an unfair settlement simply because the defendant believes they can hide behind a complex supply or design chain.