Feng Chia University, Hsin-Chien, Wang

28 May 2017

#5 – Law

Suppose that Carlos sues Alice, Bob, the AV manufacturer, the AV and the regulator of AVs for damages.

On September 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a policy report to accelerate the adoption of autonomous car technology (or HAVs, highly automated vehicles) and provide guidelines for an initial regulatory framework. Summary of key points is provided below:

• States are responsible for determining liability rules for HAVs. States should consider how to allocate liability among HAV owners, operators, passengers, manufacturers, and others when a crash occurs.
• Determination of who or what is the “driver” of an HAV in a given circumstance does not necessarily determine liability for crashes involving that HAV.
• Rules and laws allocating tort liability could have a significant effect on both consumer acceptance of HAVs and their rate of deployment. Such rules also could have a substantial effect on the level and incidence of automobile liability insurance costs in jurisdictions in which HAVs operate.
• In the future, the States may identify additional liability issues and seek to develop consistent solutions. It may be desirable to create a commission to study liability and insurance issues and make recommendations to the States.

In this cases, autonomous car manufacturers are compelled to reduce the danger of their products as much as they can within a reasonable cost structure. Yet, strict liability covers an expansive range of potential harms that manufacturers may find difficult to protect against. Manufacturers may then find themselves incentivized to pass on potential costs of liability to consumers through higher prices.
Furthermore, product liability cases distinguish among various types of defects.Carmakers should take liability for any system in the car.


  1. Kelly, Heather (30 October 2012). “Self-driving cars now legal in California”. CNN. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  2. Autonomous vehicles: The legal landscape in the US: http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/knowledge/publications/141954/autonomous-vehicles-the-legal-landscape-in-the-us
  3. http://www.quinnemanuel.com/the-firm/news-events/article-january-2016-legal-issues-raised-by-the-driverless-vehicle-revolution-part-2/

Author: wangznpb

CDIO pre-assignment

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