Driver-freeish shuttles will get more inspections and spot checks.
Non-standard cars, standard inspection
While software needs constant monitoring, other components of autonomous vehicles will be subject to periodic, locally required inspections. These inspections will evolve to capture increased electrification and possible signs of wear in case of the physical components. The inspection will include standard safety concerns: tires, brakes, lighting, windshield wipers, loose components. The car – except the electric vehicles – will also have to pass the emission tests. The privately-owned autonomous vehicle will require passing such a safety inspection every year from a certified inspection shop or a state-owned inspection station.
Presumably, the vast majority of people will not own autonomous cars but will subscribe to transport services. The vehicles owned by a transportation service provider could be maintained at a depot around where they operate. They will also have to be inspected periodically either in a public- or state-owned inspection station. When the car will be up for its annual safety inspection, it will drive itself to the depot where a mechanic will inspect it.
In case of car damage or approaching service time, the onboard diagnostics might notify the driver, contact the service department itself, see what appointments are available and provide a choice of them. Nevertheless, the cars of the future have to be supervised by a human at all times.
The software is yet another story. There is a lot of attention going into the vehicle diagnostics concerning in-vehicle and remote systems to ensure that they’re also safe to use. The automated vehicles will probably demand extensive software safeguards involving cybesecurity and software integrity validation. The systems need to be protected againts intrusions and changes. Consequently, vehicle monitoring could evolve into a continuous inspection system. In the event of a concern, the automated system would be deactivated until inspected, and reactivated by an authoried service.