Two Major Automakers and Google Say Self-driving Car Liability Would Be Theirs

In a very unexpected move, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Google have all jointly announced that if any of their self-driving (autonomous) cars get in an accident, they will take the blame. The announcement was made via interviews on the news magazine program 60 Minutes. All said, in a nutshell, that if their autonomous cars get in an avoidable accident while self-driving, the manufacturer will take the blame.

Volvo themselves, during a press conference in Sweden, said that the goal of making an announcement about shouldering liability is to speed up the acceptance process with world governments. Those governments are expected to begin wrangling over the legal requirements of autonomous vehicles, including liability, and that can be headed off to get over that roadblock by simply having the manufacturer accept blame voluntarily. So Volvo is doing so.

It also illustrates how the more proactive automakers, which both of these companies have historically been, can get ahead of a safety issue. It’s also a bit of a PR coupe on their part, so more kudos for them on that front.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at