The chief barrier to the rise of driverless automobiles isn’t technological, according to Megan McArdle. Rather, it is the current liability system. She recommends embracing something like New Zealand’s no-fault accident insurance system to replace it:
Studies have repeatedly found that the [current liability] system errs in both directions: It punishes people who have done nothing wrong, and it doesn’t punish people who have actually been grievously negligent. The New Zealand system takes care of people who have had bad accidents, and leaves punishment up to professional boards, who don’t do an obviously worse job than the malpractice system here. Certainly, it lowers the use of “defensive medicine” (tests and monitoring, and even procedures, done largely to avert potential lawsuits). That not only lowers the cost of health care; it lowers the number of people scarred or even killed by unnecessary c-sections, biopsies, and other invasive procedures. That’s a win for everyone.
Megan explains that this approach may well spark objections from both the right and the left, but it seems like a far more attractive foundation for technological innovation.