Injury Law Blog

Autonomous vehicles and the question of liability

As California residents may know, self-driving features are being added to motor vehicles by some companies, including Mercedes, Tesla and Google. Others are working on their own versions of autonomous cars. A question has arisen in who carries responsibility if one of these vehicles is involved in an accident.

California is currently one of only four states in the country that allow self-driving cars to be tested on roads that are public. Because these vehicles may end up having access nationwide to roads in the United States, the CEO of Volvo believes that autonomous cars should be addressed by the U.S. government. In a television interview, he, along with representatives from Google and Mercedes-Benz, said that their companies would take responsibility for accidents caused by their autonomous vehicles. The Volvo CEO expressed concern about a lack of national rules to govern the on-road use of autonomous vehicles. Because the government is not involved in the development of these cars, states might enact different rules on the usage of these vehicles. That might make it difficult to keep these vehicles in compliance.

Test cars with autonomous capability have shown problems in different weather conditions as well as with other drivers and pedestrians. Because a number of companies are testing this type of automobile, reducing errors in navigation is an important consideration, and addressing the risk of auto accidents involving autonomous vehicles will be important.

The time will come when self-driving vehicles become popular around the country, and it is doubtful that the risk of one being in an accident will be entirely removed. When such an accident takes place, personal injury attorneys will assist injured victims in determining the party or parties that should be held responsible for the ensuing losses.