Journal of European Tort Law
Editor-in-Chief: Oliphant, Ken
Ed. by Karner, Ernst / Koch, Bernhard A. / Wendehorst, Christiane
Liability for Damage Caused by Autonomous Vehicles: A Belgian Perspective
Autonomous vehicles are no longer a mere futuristic fantasy. They will be commercialised one day. According to recent predictions, fully autonomous or ‘driverless’ vehicles could already be available within five to twenty years. Although traffic will become much safer with autonomous vehicles, accidents will not suddenly disappear. Autonomous vehicles will probably share the road with ‘regular’ non-autonomous cars during a considerably long transition period. This interaction between humans and software will inevitably lead to accidents. Recent accidents show that the technology used in autonomous vehicles is not entirely flawless either. Against this background, this article examines the potential liability of users and producers under Belgian tort law for damage caused by autonomous vehicles. The article proposes a number of solutions to overcome some of the detected hurdles. Although we take a Belgian perspective, most of the article’s findings also apply to other legal systems as they face similar challenges.
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