Ever wondered who would be responsible if you were struck by a self-driving car? As of today, Volvo says it’s their problem. Autoblog.com reports that if the car is a Volvo and it’s running autonomously, the Swedish automaker has pledged to take on full liability for crashes in the future.
Self-driven cars have shown fairly promising results in limited road tests, but there are a lot of potential liabilities to consider before they hit Main Street. What happens if your autonomous car runs off the road, into another self-driven car, into a human-driven car, or into a pedestrian?
Volvo’s promise is a bold step for two reasons. First, the company is expressing confidence in their own product in a way that hasn’t really been equalled. While the specifics of what the company will and won’t consider liable may become murkier once specific language is drafted, a promise of this scale is a major step step for self-driving cars in the legal and political eye.
Second, it’s a good business move. Volvo’s statement is likely to force competitors to stop dangling their toes. Once a claim like this has been made, everyone else in the competition will be expected to make the same claim, or explain why they won’t.
On paper, that may sound a lot like school yard bravado, but as everyone from Uber to the elderly looks at adopting self-driving technology, one company has answered the biggest question: who’s in trouble when something goes wrong?