PRC law, at this stage, does not yet specifically regulate any liability for damages caused by a car in automated driving mode.
For information, according to the ICV Road Test Norms, in case of any traffic violation during the test, the test driver shall be liable according to existing laws and regulations on road traffic safety. In case of any traffic accident, which has happened during the test, the liability of the concerned parties for damage compensation shall be determined according to the existing laws and regulations on road traffic safety.
For general information under the current PRC road traffic safety laws, allocation of liability for traffic accidents follows the following principles:
- where a traffic accident occurs between two motor vehicles, the party at fault shall bear liability. Where both parties are at fault, the liabilities shall be borne on the basis of the proportion of each party's fault;
- where a traffic accident occurs between the driver of a motor vehicle and the driver of a non-motor vehicle or a pedestrian, the driver of the motor vehicle shall bear liability for compensation, if the driver of the non-motor vehicle or the pedestrian is not at fault. Where there is evidence to prove that the driver of the non-motor vehicle or the pedestrian is at fault, the compensation liabilities to be borne by the motor vehicle driver shall be appropriately allocated on the basis of the degree of fault. Where the driver of the motor vehicle is not at fault, the compensation liabilities to be borne by him shall not exceed 10%.
- where the losses in a traffic accident are caused by the driver of a non-motor vehicle or a pedestrian who deliberately runs into a motor vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle shall not bear any liability for compensation.
We assume that the current legal provisions as above will serve as basic principles to determine automated driving related liability. However, since automated driving is a special situation where it is unclear whether and how “fault” of the driver will be relevant and can be established, and whether and to which extent ICV developers, manufacturers, sellers and/or other related parties shall be held liable, automated driving related liability will need to be regulated in detail by legislators. The exact content will also strongly depend on the overall legislative development concerning ICVs and artificial intelligence.