Volvo President will Deliver Speech on Federal Guidelines, Liability of Autonomous Cars

Oct. 8, 2015

Oct. 8, 2015—Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, will deliver a speech on Thursday where he will express his concern at the lack of Federal guidelines for autonomous driving and state that Volvo will accept full legal liability for vehicles in autonomous mode.

During the speech, which will be delivered at a high-level seminar on self-driving vehicles organized by Volvo Cars and the Embassy of Sweden in Washington DC, Samuelsson will voice his concerns that the U.S. position as the most progressive country in the world in terms of autonomous driving could be in jeopardy if a national framework for regulation and testing is not developed.

“The U.S. risks losing its leading position due to the lack of Federal guidelines for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles,” Mr Samuelsson will say in his speech, according to Wednesday’s press release. “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 will say the absence of national Federal oversight in the US runs the risk of slowing down the development and introduction of autonomous driving technologies by making it extremely difficult for car makers to test, develop and sell autonomous vehicles.

“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. If we are to ensure a smooth transition to autonomous mobility then together we must create the necessary framework that will support this,” Samuelsson will say in his speech.

Samuelsson’s speech, A Future with Self Driving Cars—Is it Safe?, will emphasize that the introduction of self-driving cars on the world’s roads will happen quicker than many lawmakers are anticipating.

He will urge regulators to work closely with car makers to solve self-driving car issues, specifically the question over legal liability in the event that a self-driving car is involved in a crash or hacked by a criminal third party.

Samuelsson will state Volvo’s position on both of these issues, which is to accept full liability whenever one of its cars is is autonomous mode and that Volvo views hacking as a criminal offense.

“We are constantly evolving defensive software to counter the risks associated with hacking a car. We do not blame Apple, or Microsoft for computer viruses or hackers,” Samuelsson will say.

Latest in Law