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THE FUTURE OF MOTOR LIABILITY AND INSURANCE FOR AUTOMATED AND AUTONOMOUS DRIVING - WITH AN ANALYSIS OF THE NEW GERMAN LEGISLATION

Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

THE FUTURE OF MOTOR LIABILITY AND INSURANCE FOR AUTOMATED AND AUTONOMOUS DRIVING - WITH AN ANALYSIS OF THE NEW GERMAN LEGISLATION

Christian Armbrüster*

This paper explores the challenges which semi-automated and automated as well as autonomous vehicle driving systems present to the traditional concepts of liability and liability insurance. This is accompanied by an analysis of how the German legislature has recently reacted to the increasing importance of semi-automated and automated driving. It is demonstrated that semi-automated and automated as well as autonomous driving do not lead to a fundamental shift from motor liability to product liability. This is because the well-developed European system of obligatory motor liability insurance, in combination with strict liability of the registered holder of the vehicle, serves in a comprehensive and efficient way to protect victims of accidents—this being the core aim—while vehicle drivers and holders also benefit from insurance coverage. However, product liability may become more relevant with regard to the motor insurer’s option to have recourse. In the end the compensatory costs will always have to be borne by car holders, whether they pay liability insurance premiums themselves or car manufacturers calculate their liability risk/insurance cost as part of the price of the car.

I. INTRODUCTION

Automated and autonomous driving have recently been topics of lively debate in many countries, including Germany, about the effects of this new technology on liability and insurance law. This debate mainly reflects the current state of science and technology and therefore refers to the various levels of automated vehicle control which have already been introduced, or are expected to be, over the next few years, while autonomous driving—where there is no driver but only passengers (or goods)—is still lacking a legal framework1 and therefore is considered rather as an issue for future debate. In the current discussion a crucial question is to what extent the increasing usage of automated driving tools in motor vehicles affects motor liability and, as a consequence, motor liability insurance. In this context the effects of changes to the classical concepts of liability and insurance on the protection of accident victims must also be considered.
automated and autonomous driving

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