Autonomous cars are rapidly on their way to becoming a reality, but many of the remaining questions aren’t about the technology, rather they concern the legal questions and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to function on public roads.
In a press release dated October 7, 2015 Volvo was one of the first major automakers to announce they would accept liability if one of their self-driving cars was in an accident.
Google an Microsoft announced the same in a 60 Minutes report on CBS.
Google and Mercedes told us, if their technology is at fault once it becomes commercially available, they'll accept responsibility and liability. But all involved expect fewer crashes as the technology evolves.
This was a particularly brave step given that most automakers researching autonomous vehicle technology aren't saying much for now, likely because they're hoping that governments around the world and their regulatory bodies will say something first. These announcements by Volvo, Google and Mercedes might encourage governments to move more quickly on introducing autonomous vehicle legislation, which will speed the pace of innovation and lift the taboo of discussion surrounding liability in the event of an autonomous accident.