Board Certified in Real Estate Law by The Florida Bar
Rated for Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters
Rated by Avvo
James Martin AV Preeminent 2022

Robot Cars Coming to Florida

James W. Martin

The 2012 Florida Legislature has okayed robot cars in Florida: “a motor vehicle that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed without the active control or monitoring by a human operator.” The technical term is “autonomous vehicle”, but robot car is what it is.

And all you need is a valid driver license. You don’t even need to be in the vehicle to be the driver: “a person shall be deemed to be the operator of an autonomous vehicle operating in autonomous mode when the person causes the vehicle’s autonomous technology to engage, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the vehicle while the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode.”

This, of course, raises questions about the application of Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Who’s at fault when the robot makes a wrong turn into another car? And what if the robot’s uninsured or underinsured?

The law does let one party off the hook: “The original manufacturer of a vehicle converted by a third party into an autonomous vehicle shall not be liable in, and shall have a defense to and be dismissed from, any legal action brought against the original manufacturer by any person injured due to an alleged vehicle defect caused by the conversion of the vehicle, or by equipment installed by the converter, unless the alleged defect was present in the vehicle as originally manufactured.”

If Governor Scott does not veto the bill, HB 1207 will take effect July 1, 2012. So let’s be careful out there.

The 2012 Florida Legislature has okayed robot cars in Florida: “a motor vehicle that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed without the active control or monitoring by a human operator.” The technical term is “autonomous vehicle”, but robot car is what it is.

Get in Touch

Fill out the contact form or call (727) 821-0904 to schedule your free consultation.
  1. 1 Free Consultation
  2. 2 Over 40 Years of Experience
  3. 3 Video Conferencing Available

Leave a Message

Disclaimer