If you work for a corp then you are not liable and the plaintiff cannot try to sue you for compensation.
If you are a licensed professional engineer and sign off on a product, then you are personally liable.
As a Software Engineer, I am appalled by the constant insinuation that software that fails should lead to jail time for developers. A delivery driver is THERE, he has time to react. If he fails to REACT properly then he faces consequences. You want me to face consequences because I failed to negate any and all possible future failures before they happen, because once they begin I in my cubicle damn sure can't do anything about it anymore.
As an industrial software engineer, I absolutely do want you to face consequences, and I would expect the same of myself. If I wrote some faulty code that started a motor and mangled someone following appropriate safety procedures, I would expect to see criminal negligence charges. It is my duty as an engineer to ensure my code is safe according to published guidelines.
With autonomous aircraft and cars, where there currently are no guidelines, and further where you are going to be interfacing with a public that cannot follow safety procedures, then it is your responsibility to make sure those guidelines get written and ratified by the appropriate governing body before unleashing your product.
The difference is that you chose to make that risk. On the other hand, should your parachute fail to open, and you happen to fall on someone below or their property, you unethically made their choice for them. When you watch television shows and someone commits suicide off a building, they inevitably fall on and destroy some poor bastard's car.
When parachuting, you do it over some unpopulated rural area, and the chance of you damaging someone else or their property is so remote as to not be of concern. This is exactly the reason why base jumping in urban areas is illegal. By the same right, if anything goes wrong with your urban delivery drone, there's a good chance you're going to have packages and propellers falling on the populace below.
What the fuck are you talking about? Watts, and thus kilowatts, are a unit of power. Power is the rate of change of energy over time. The rate of change of time, times the time, is thus energy. kW*h is a unit of energy equal to 3.6MJ. On the other hand, kW/h is the rate of change of power output over time, which is only usable in measuring how rapidly a power plant will ramp up in power output.
They'd have launched seaplanes - they could use the ocean as their runway.
The submarines were fitted with a catapult. You can carry much more payload if you're not trying to take off from water.
Cruise missiles and soon drones are the exception that proves the rule - they're encapsulated and fit into standard torpedo tubes and thus do not impose notable restrictions on the boat.
Actually, they're usually launched out of vertical launch tubes, similarly to ballistic missiles.