What Safety are We Entitled to Expect of Self-driving Vehicles?
Keywords:Self-driving vehicles, driverless cars, autonomous vehicles, product liability, Directive 85/374/EEC
A manufacturer of self-driving vehicles could face claims involving assertions of the product’s defectiveness. Under the Product Liability Directive, a product is deemed defective when it does not provide the safety that a person is entitled to expect. Efforts to ascertain the possibility of defectiveness connected with a self-driving vehicle could necessitate evaluating the design of the vehicle, matters of human–machine interaction, and the role of the human in the relevant incident of damage. This article lays groundwork by considering the capabilities of self-driving vehicles, the role and expectations of human beings, and legislation aimed at ensuring safety and preventing damage. This discussion concretely situates the concept of the safety of self-driving vehicles in the context of product liability law, which is inherently preoccupied mainly with the consequences.