Autonomous cars need new rules of the road. Volvo president Håkan Samuelsson is urging the United States to put federal regulations in place in order to allow the proliferation of self-driving vehicles all across the country.
Samuelsson spoke on Thursday, at a seminar organized by Volvo Cars and the Embassy of Sweden in Washington D.C. The seminar, titled “A Future with Self Driving Cars – Is it Safe?”, was held at the House of Sweden and addressed lawmakers.
“The US risks losing its leading position due to the lack of Federal guidelines for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles,” he said. “Europe has suffered to some extent by having a patchwork of rules and regulations. It would be a shame if the US took a similar path to Europe in this crucial area.”
This patchwork of rules that differ by state could slow the development of self-driving cars despite the United States’ top spot as a developer of autonomous vehicles.
“The absence of one set of rules means car makers cannot conduct credible tests to develop cars that meet all the different guidelines of all 50 US states,” he said. “If we are to ensure a smooth transition to autonomous mobility then together we must create the necessary framework that will support this.”
Volvo is moving forward with the use of autonomous cars in Sweden, and has put out its own guidelines in case of an accident with one of these cars. Volvo is among the first car makers in the world to accept full liability for its autonomous cars, and has also taken responsibility for the hacking of an autonomous car, which Volvo considers a criminal offense.
“We are constantly evolving defensive software to counter the risks associated with hacking a car. We do not blame Apple, or Microsoft for computer viruses or hackers,” Samuelsson said.
The United States does not yet have nationwide laws in place regarding self-driving cars, although Google and many established car companies are working on hands-free vehicles. Many states have adopted their own individual laws defining and regulating the use of autonomous cars.
Volvo will put 100 self-driving XC90s on the road in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017.
Filed Under: Industry regulations