Volvo Assumes Responsibility for Self-Driving Car Accidents

If something goes wrong in self-driving mode, Volvo is the first company promising to assume liability.

Volvo promised on Oct. 8 that it will assume full liability while its vehicles are in self-driving mode. Many questions surrounding self-driving vehicles remain unanswered, but if the industry follows suit, Volvo just answered a big one.

While Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson was making the announcement, he also pushed for the U.S. to establish federal guidelines so that states won't struggle to develop them alone. California was scrambling last year to have regulations ready for the rapidly approaching technology within a few months.

“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 U.S. states,” Samuelsson said. "If we are to ensure a smooth transition to autonomous mobility, then together we must create the necessary framework that will support this.”

Volvo is partners with the Swedish government on a project that aims to launch 100 self-driving vehicles on public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017.

Colin wrote for Government Technology and Emergency Management from 2010 through most of 2016.