Self-driving Cars：China and Beyond- Who will be Liable？
The development of advanced automated vehicle safety technologies, including fully self-driving cars, will be the greatest change to personal transportation since the introduction of the personal automobile nearly a century ago. Although humans love cars they do not seem to be particularly adept at driving. Surveys have found that some ninety percent of motor vehicle crashes are caused at least in part by human error. Accordingly moving the driving from humans to autonomous vehicles may improve safety and save lives. As with every ground breaking technology, automated vehicle technologies have the potential to bring great social, economic and environmental benefit but will also lead to new legal issues that will need to be considered. Perhaps the most basic and most important is in respect of liability. As driving functions become increasingly automated there will be a shift of responsibility from driver to vehicle. The question, will then arise as to who bears responsibility if there is a collision occurs – the driver? The owner? The manufacturer? The automation system provider? Or the insurance company? Or do they share liability and if yes then to what extent? This article seeks to provide some preliminary views on liability issues relating to automated vehicle technologies and how this is likely to develop in China.