On 11 January at 11:00 Taivo Liivak will defend his doctoral thesis “Tort Liability for Damage Caused by Self-driving Vehicles under Estonian Law”.
Prof. Janno Lahe, University of Tartu
Prof. Irene Kull, University of Tartu
Prof. Giovanni Sartor, University of Bologna (Italy); European University Institute (Italy)
Prof. Mark Fišel, University of Tartu
Prof. Päivi Korpisaari, University of Helisnki (Finland)
Self-driving vehicles can be divided into six levels, where Level 0 means no automation and Level 5 means full automation – whereby the vehicle copes with all of the conditions of the traffic environment and a human does not participate in the driving in any way. No Level 5 vehicles have yet been put into circulation, but full automation is expected to be achieved in the near future. Self-driving vehicles should help, among other things, in making traffic safer and increasing mobility, but it cannot be precluded that a self-driving vehicle will harm someone. This leads to the question of who is required to remedy the damage caused by a self- driving vehicle. Unlawfully caused damage is regulated by the Law of Obligations Act, which provides for general fault-based tortious liability, liability for damage caused by a source of greater danger (strict liability) and liability for damage caused by a defective product (product liability). Although there are currently no self-driving vehicles in circulation, they can hypothetically be placed in the existing legal space in order to assess what problems this raises in the field of liability for unlawful damage. This dissertation examines, inter alia, whether, on what grounds and against whom an injured person can bring a claim for damages under fault- based tortious liability, strict liability and product liability in a situation where the damage is caused by a self-driving vehicle. It analyses the situations in which an error in the software of a self-driving vehicle or in the digital services used by it could be deemed a defect of the vehicle and whether and to what an extent it is justified to discharge manufacturers of self-driving vehicles from liability based on the development risk defence. The dissertation also discusses how to assess the size of the risk of operation of self-driving vehicles and how to divide liability in a situation where mutual damage has been caused with the involvement of a self-driving vehicle, given that in the case of the latter, the driver’s conduct cannot be taken into account.
The defence will be held in Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83266332356?pwd=UVlSL1BzZzE3YXF0Zk5yOVdrOHd1UT09
(Meeting ID: 832 6633 2356, Passcode: 073432)