Volvo will accept full responsibility for driverless car crashes

Volvo has said it will take accept full responsibility for any accidents caused by its driverless cars.

The car maker is one of the first to take up the stance in an attempt to quicken regulations which are yet to establish how autonomous cars and their manufacturers should be liable for accidents. Mercedes and Google have made similar claims as manufactures race to create a full-functioning, legal car of the future.

The speed at which the governance of the technology is coming together is hampering development, according to connected car makers. Indeed, Vovlo has criticised the “patchwork” of rules in the US and Europe.

In a speech in Washington this week (8 October), the president of Volco Cars Hakan Samuelsson said that the US is currently the “most progressive country in the world in autonomous driving” but it “risks losing its leading position,” because of a lack of Federal guidelines for the “testing and certification” of autonomous vehicles.

Rules for self-driving cars in differ from state to state, making it harder for manufacturers to build models that can be driven across the US.

To help reduce the need for differing laws, Samuelsson said the car maker would accept full responsibility for any accidents caused by a design flaw in its self-driving cars. It chimes against the claim from other manufacturers that the technology will never make mistakes. Driverless technology “will never be perfect….one day there will be an accident,” admitted Samuelsson.

Speaking to the BBC, the Volvo boss added: “Volvo wants to remove the uncertainty of who would be responsible in the event of the crash. At the moment it could be the manufacturer of the technology, the driver, a maker of a component in a car.”

The car maker also wants more clarity around what would happen if an autonomous car was hacked. Car hacking has become a hot topic in the industry following several high profile cases that have shown how connected cars on sale today can be tampered with over the internet and controlled by hackers.

“We are constantly evolving defensive software to counter the risks associated with hacking a car. We do not blame Apple or Microsoft for computer viruses or hackers,” added Samuelsson.

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