In order to plan for any possible crashes involving its driverless vehicles, Volvo has announced that they will accept full liability in the event of an incident. The announcement was made by CEO of Volvo Håkan Samuelsson as he made a speech in Washington D.C. on Thursday.
Driverless vehicles expert Ben Gardner said that Volvo is trying make a complicated issue more transparent.
Gardner stated, “Volvo wants to remove the uncertainty of who would be responsible in the event of a crash. At the moment it could be the manufacturer of the technology, the driver, a maker of a component in a car… the party causing an accident is responsible once all of the circumstances of the particular case have been examined. But moving to a strict manufacturer liability approach would remove the need to consider who is responsible for the collision.”
Meanwhile, Samuelsson put pressure on lawmakers in the United States to establish a new framework in order to better regulate autonomous vehicles.
Samuelsson said, "The absence of one set of rules means car makers cannot conduct credible tests to develop cars that meet all the different guidelines of all 50 US states,” Samuelsson said. "If we are to ensure a smooth transition to autonomous mobility then together we must create the necessary framework that will support this,"
According to Samuelsson, Europe is a poor area for testing and developing driverless vehicles because of the unclear rules and regulations.
In the United Kingdom, the British government established a code of practice for companies testing driverless vehicles on the country’s public roads. The guidelines mentioned a number of issues that are relevant to the practice. They include matters such as vehicle requirements, insurance requirements, data protection and issues in security.
According to Gardner, the code requires that a test driver be present and ready to take over the vehicle if something goes wrong. Also, the vehicle must be able to follow all traffic laws.
While some barriers to testing autonomous vehicles on public roads still remain, government agencies are starting to acknowledge the technology and establish laws to help the innovative vehicles get on the road.