Who is responsible for autonomous driving — the driver, the vehicle owner, or the manufacturer? Since robots cannot act like humans or be treated like them, we must clarify how to assign our criteria from criminal law, civil law and common morals to the new technologies,” said Prof. Dr. Julian Nida-Rümelin, Professor of Philosophy at LMU Munich.Nida-Rümelin, an expert in the field of technology ethics, is one of over 100 experts attempting to address these questions at a special symposium, “Autonomous Driving, Law and Ethics”, this week in Germany, organized by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.RELATED STORIESToyota commits US$50M to automated driving researchReady for an Apple car? Report says company moving forward with projectGoogle names auto veteran to lead self-driving car development pushTheoretically, autonomous cars could cut road collision deaths, congestion, pollution and driver stress levels overnight while simultaneously boosting many people’s quality of life. Yet until there is a consensus regarding not just liability but, for instance, how a self driving car is programmed to act in an unexpected traffic situation or how it collects and potentially uses personal data, progress towards reality will be slow.”The safety of every road user is our top priority for automated driving as well. Just as important as technical developments is that our customers have legal certainty and security when it comes to ethical and data protection matters,” said Dr. Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs.What isn’t open for discussion at the symposium, however, is the technological feasibility of self driving cars; everyone is in agreement that it is simply a question of when, rather than if. Dr Hohmann-Dennhardt is convinced that the advantages offered are so great that autonomous cars will become a fixture of future mobility, a sentiment shared by every major carmaker at this month’s Frankfurt motor show.