Motor Vehicle Accidents

Automated Intelligence: Flying Cars and Compensation Claims

By LHD Lawyers

Flying cars, historically the domain of science fiction are now much closer to fact than fiction.

On Tuesday 25 April 2017 Uber announced that in conjunction with aviation manufacturers such as Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer SA, Mooney International Corp and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. they are working to develop flying cars with the anticipated release year being 2020. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and Dubai in the UAE have been nominated as the locations for take-off and landing tests.

Uber’s announcement closely follows the March 2017, Geneva Motor Show unveiling by Airbus of the Pop.Up, a concept vehicle designed to be utilised as a car or as a quadcopter.

In light of the potentially imminent arrival onto the market of flying cars, governments will be faced with the difficult question as to what compensation law applies when the inevitable happens, a flying car accident resulting in injury or death. Would state law apply such as the NSW Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1988? In the alternative, would Commonwealth law apply under the Civil Aviation (Carriers Liability) Act 1959? The only certainty at this stage is that one beneficiary of the automated intelligence – flying car will be the insurance industry.

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