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Self-Driving Delivery Cars

The latest Domino’s Pizza deliverer is not a person but a self-driving car. Domino’s started delivering pizzas using the R2 robot by Nuro in Houston last April 2021 as part of its pilot program. Nuro’s R2 robot is the first-ever autonomous or self-driving delivery vehicle that operates without any occupants to be approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

How Does it Work?

Customers must place their prepaid orders on Domino’s delivery website from its Woodland Heights location. If a customer’s order falls within specific times and days, the customer can opt to have the R2 robot as their delivery method.

Customers who have successfully booked the R2 robot for delivery will get alerts via text messages to receive updates on the robot’s location. They can likewise track the R2 through GPS in Domino’s tracker webpage and order confirmation webpage. When the R2 arrives, the customer just needs to enter a PIN on the robot’s touch screen to open the door and get the pizza inside. Simple enough, right?

But the implications of self-driving vehicles are far from simple. For years now, companies dabbling in self-driving tech believed that their tech and the current road infrastructure are enough to make the tech mainstream. However, these companies have run into various issues, with even major companies like Uber selling its program for self-driving vehicle tech to Aurora in December 2020. And then, there are the legal issues that hound self-driving vehicles.

Legal Issues of Self-Driving Vehicles

Here’s a quick look at the most important legal issues that must be addressed before self-driving vehicles become truly mainstream:

  • Liability for accidents: The main issue being who should ultimately be held liable for an accident that resulted in injuries to another person and/or property due to the “actions” of a self-driving vehicle? Traditionally, the liable party is the other driver, except when a product defect caused the accident. But as vehicles become increasingly self-driving, like the fully autonomous R2 delivery robot, the manufacturer, probably not Domino’s, will be liable for accidents because it’s not a Domino delivery person driving the vehicle because the robot is driving itself.
  • Insurance coverage for accidents: Currently, the vehicle’s operator/driver is required to carry adequate insurance coverage to cover injuries to other people and/or property. But if a car’s operator is a computer system, it’s logical to extend the insurance requirements to manufacturers.
  • Data protection or security: In most jurisdictions, hacking and data theft is considered a crime, and liability lies with hackers. But with self-driving vehicles, liability should likewise rest with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that they have taken adequate measures to prevent unauthorized use or access.

Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer in Florida Today

Injured in an auto accident involving a self-driving delivery car? Reach out to the Tragos, Sartes, & Tragos law firm to find out how our Florida auto accident lawyer can help you with your claim. You can schedule your free case consultation with our experienced Florida auto accident lawyer by calling 727-441-9093 or filling out our online contact form