Volvo president Håkan Samuelsson caused a stir earlier this week when he said that Volvo would accept full liability whenever its cars are in autonomous mode. Samuelsson wen further, urging lawmakers to solve what he called “controversial outstanding issues” over legal liability in the event that a self-driving car is involved in a crash.
“If we made a mistake in designing the brakes or writing the software, it is not reasonable to put the liability on the customer,” says Erik Coelingh, senior technical leader for safety and driver support technologies at Volvo. “We say to the customer, you can spend time on something else, we take responsibility.”
This, says Samuelsson, makes Volvo, “one of the first car makers in the world to make such a promise.” Google and Mercedes Benz have recently made similar assurances. But does that mean if your future self-driving Tesla or Volkswagen gets into a crash instead, you’re going to be on the hook for all the damages?