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Ralph Nader Offers Contrarian View on Autonomous Vehicles

Ralph Nader Offers Contrarian View on Autonomous Vehicles
Ralph Nader Offers Contrarian View on Autonomous Vehicles

Consumer activist Ralph Nader

October 5, 2016

The man who became the bane of the auto industry in the 1960s is expressing skepticism about autonomous vehicles. In an interview with A.M. Best’s Best’s Review, consumer advocate Ralph Nader raises concerns about self-driving cars and calls for the insurance industry to take a more active role in establishing safety standards and clarifying key coverage issues, such as who would bear responsibility for various types of losses.

In “The Arrogance of the Algorithm,” Nader questions the capabilities of a self-driving car’s operating system. “The insurance industry has a huge role to play,” he said. “One of the roles is to develop an equivalent for Underwriters Labs, where they have their own testing capabilities. They need to have a declaration of who is responsible for what. How much is the responsibility of the manufacturers, the dealers, the suppliers, the drivers…They’ve got to figure out all this stuff. lf they believe it’s a reality, that it’s not just a lot of PR and techno-twits.”

The 82-year-old Nader said he would like to see more testing of autonomous vehicles in real-world situations with standards setting organizations setting minimum levels of compliance.