Volvo Will Accept Liability If Their Autonomous Cars Crash

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Volvo Cars President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson announced Thursday in Washington, DC, that the automaker would “accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode,” making Volvo one of the first automakers to solve one of many important legal issues that face autonomous vehicles. Volvo made the announcement just days after launching a project in Sweden that will see 100 Volvo XC90s with autonomous functionality hitting the roads around Gothenburg in 2017. During a seminar — “A Future with Self Driving Cars – Is it Safe?” — at House of Sweden in DC hosted by Volvo Cars and the Embassy of Sweden, Samuelsson explained that while the U.S. is the most progressive country when it comes to autonomous vehicles, the legal patchwork created by individual states could hinder that leadership. “The U.S. risks losing its leading position due to the lack of Federal guidelines for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles. Europe has suffered to some extent by having a patchwork of rules and regulations. It would be a shame if the US took a similar path to Europe in this crucial area,” Samuelsson stated. “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,” he will say. “If we are to ensure a smooth transition to autonomous mobility then together we must create the necessary framework that will support this.” As of May 2015, California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to regulate the operation of autonomous cars on public roads, according to Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Wiki.