Audi To Accept Liability In Autonomous Crashes

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As semi-autonomous vehicles become more commonplace, many lingering questions still remain about them, none more pertinent than who accepts liability if a self-driving vehicle crashes?

In 2015, Volvo revealed that it would accept full liability if one of its autonomous cars crashed while in a self-driving mode and German rival Audi has just confirmed it will do the same.

During an event in Germany to showcase the level 3 autonomous driving technology of the 2018 A8, Audi’s boss of pre-development or automated driving, Dr Thorsten Leonhardt made the reassuring statement with Car Advice.

“When the function is operated as intended, if the customer turns the traffic jam pilot on and uses it as intended, and the car was in control at the time of the accident, the driver goes to his insurance company and the insurance company will compensate the victims of the accident and in the aftermath they come to us and we have to pay them,” he said.

The AI Traffic Jam Pilot system of the new A8 is the market’s first SAE Level 3 autonomous system and will initially be offered in European A8 models.

The system can take over control of the vehicle on highways and multi-lane motorways where a physical barrier between opposing directions of traffic is present. In nose-to-tail traffic at up to 37 mph (60 km/h), the technology is so advanced that the driver doesn’t have to maintain focus on the car or the road.