Volvo Will Accept 'Full Liability' for Self-Driving Car Crashes

Swedish car-maker Volvo say they will accept "full liability" in the event that one of their self-driving cars crashes while driving in autonomous mode.

Volvo, who in 2012 said that people will no longer die in car crashes by 2020, join Google and Mercedes as driverless car-makers who have made similar promises to take responsibility in the event of crashes.

Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson will make the announcement on Thursday afternoon during a seminar titled "A Future with Self Driving Cars – Is it Safe?" at the Swedish embassy in Washington D.C.

According to Samuelsson, questions relating to who will take responsibility when a car without a driver crashes are holding back development, despite a report by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. that forecasts that driverless cars will reduce up to 90 percent of car accidents in the U.S.

In a statement ahead of Samuelsson's address, Volvo makes clear that they will take "full liability" in the if one of their self-driving cars crashes in autonomous mode.

According to the statement, Samuelsson is due to call on U.S. authorities to set up regulation and testing frameworks in order for the autonomous driving technology to progress. The International Business Times reports that Volvo began testing driverless cars on public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2013. However, Volvo now say a legal "patchwork" across Europe is slowing down the technologies progress.

"Europe has suffered to some extent by having a patchwork of rules and regulations. It would be a shame if the U.S. took a similar path to Europe in this crucial area," Samuelsson will say.

Under the current system, Samuelsson will raise concerns that the "U.S. risks losing its leading position due to the lack of Federal guidelines for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles."

According to car news website Autoblog, California, Nevada, Florida and Michigan already allow autonomous car testing on their public roads, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun to set standards over all U.S. states, issuing an advanced notice of public rulemaking relating to vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Samuelsson will also urge a closer relationship between regulators and car-makers to "help solve controversial issues such as questions over legal liability in the event that a self-driving car is involved in a crash or hacked by a criminal third party."