LIABILITY OF A MANUFACTURER OF FULLY AUTONOMOUS AND CONNECTED VEHICLES UNDER THE PRODUCT LIABILITY DIRECTIVE

Taivo Liivak

Abstract


Fully autonomous and connected vehicles are products combining hardware, software and services. The main advantage of such vehicles is arguably their safety owing to the elimination of human error. Thus, the expectations of the public regarding their safety are particularly high. This article seeks to establish whether Directive 85/374/EEC which governs manufacturers’ liability for damage caused by defective products is fit for the introduction of fully autonomous and connected vehicles. It presents the Directive’s prerequisites for manufacturer liability and examines legal gaps arising from the definition of ‘product’ in the light of the characteristics of fully autonomous and connected vehicles. The article also looks into the defectiveness considerations of such self-driving vehicles under the Directive, analyses the circle of persons who can be treated as manufacturers and the development risk defence which is often associated with the decision-making process of fully autonomous and connected vehicles.

Keywords


autonomous vehicles, self-driving vehicles, product liability, Directive 85/374/EEC, development risk defence

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/j.icj.2018.12.008

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