In a futuristic world full of self-driving cars — even if the cars and sensors are guaranteed to be 99.999 percent effective — there will still be accidents here and there. Car manufacturers are trying to get this percentage down as much as possible — one of the main reasons autonomous cars aren’t everywhere already.
If neither driver involved in an accident are operating their vehicles, who will be to blame if there is an accident? Volvo answered that question early on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 when the company announced they would take responsibility for all accidents in which one of their autonomous vehicles is involved.
When asked about accidents not involving another vehicle, such as, “What if the lane markings are messed up? Will my car run off the road?” Volvo president and CEO, Håkan Samuelsson and his team responded when test-driving, Nevada had lane markings with shorter dots and in other places, painted stripes were almost washed out. The vehicle’s vision systems were calibrated to avoid any mistakes.
Autonomous technology appears to be years on the horizon, but with each breakthrough and power-move like Volvo’s, we are approaching that horizon with great speed.
Volvo’s actions show a lot of confidence and trust in their product and engineering which makes me feel slightly better about letting my vehicle’s computer take over the steering wheel.
Although Volvo only represents a small portion of the vehicle market in the U.S., I expect this move will play a huge role in how other companies make their next move when it comes to regulation and policy concerning autonomous technology.
What are your thoughts on Volvo’s statement and the regulation of autonomous cars in the future? I’d love to hear them, comment below.