clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

In self-driving-car crashes, most people think automakers should be liable

A survey of 50,000 people showed that more than half want steering wheels in their self-driving cars and 79 percent think the automakers should be liable if the cars crash.

Geneva Motor Show 2016 Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

When it comes to self-driving cars, there’s still a lot that has yet to be determined — much of which concerns consumer trust and safety. From whether robot-driven cars need steering wheels to who is liable when the robot-driven car crashes, these unanswered questions are the center of ongoing debate in the transportation industry.

While the industry and regulators have yet to land on a definitive standard, the people have certainly spoken. In a survey of 50,000 people around the world conducted by Volvo, 79 percent of people said they thought carmakers should assume liability in the case of crashes and 55 percent of people said they wanted a steering wheel in their self-driving cars.

That’s good news for Volvo — and likely why the company highlighted these findings — because in 2015, the company was the first to make a pledge to assume liability for any and all self-driving accidents. Volvo’s U.S. CEO Lex Kerssemakers also told Recode the company is not just a proponent of rolling out semi-autonomous technology incrementally, but also thinks people should be able to switch between autonomous and manual driving. Both of these require steering wheels so the humans can take over.

There's still debate over whether steering wheels and semi-autonomous technology are actually more dangerous in self-driving cars, given that it introduces the potential of human error into the equation.

This article originally appeared on