In a speech delivered at a seminar on self-driving cars organized by Volvo Cars and the Embassy of Sweden in Washington D.C., Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said that the U.S. is currently the most progressive country in the world in autonomous driving (AD), but added that this position could be eroded if a national framework for regulation and testing is not developed.
“The U.S. risks losing its leading position due to the lack of federal guidelines for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles,” said Samuelsson. “Europe has suffered to some extent by having a patchwork of rules and regulations. It would be a shame if the U.S. took a similar path to Europe in this crucial area.”
Samuelsson said the absence of national federal oversight in the U.S. runs the risk of slowing down the development and introduction of autonomous driving technologies by making it extremely difficult for carmakers to test, develop and sell AD cars.
“The absence of one set of rules means carmakers cannot conduct credible tests to develop cars that meet all the different guidelines of all 50 U.S. 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.”
Samuelsson addressed a select audience at the seminar titled, “A Future with Self Driving Cars – Is it Safe?” at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C., during which he emphasized that the introduction of self-driving cars on the world’s roads will happen more quickly than many lawmakers anticipate.
He urged regulators to work closely with carmakers to solve controversial, outstanding issues such as questions over legal liability in the event that a self-driving car is involved in a crash or hacked by a criminal third party.
Samuelsson clearly stated Volvo’s position on both of these contentious issues, stating that Volvo will accept full liability whenever one of its cars is in autonomous mode, making it one of the first carmakers in the world to make such a promise.
Samuelsson added that Volvo regards the hacking of a car as a criminal offense.
“We are constantly evolving defensive software to counter the risks associated with hacking a car,” he said. “We do not blame Apple or Microsoft for computer viruses or hackers.”