The Connected Car: Delegation of Driver Responsibility and Legal Liability

Illustrations © J. Yerpez

The vehicle of the future will be connected, cooperative and most likely self-driving. Featuring a variety of configurations, the connected car is already present on our roads. The cooperative vehicle has made its debut with the introduction of cooperative and intelligent transport systems (C-ITS), which are currently in the pre-deployment phase in Europe1. The «self-driving» vehicle is still under development and completing an experimental phase. Some models however are circulating on public roads, notably in the United States, albeit under strictly supervised conditions. France employs the expression «vehicle with delegated driver responsibility», either total or partial2. This approach provides a better evaluation of the functionalities leading to real autonomy, which will only be achieved once onboard artificial intelligence has produced a system with the capacity for self-learning and decision-making based on both acquired knowledge and the driving environment. Such a notion is quite different from an automatic response to a pre-programmed situation.