Adrian Segura (Department of Law, Universitat Pompeu Fabra) et al. have published “Car accidents in the age of robots” with the International Review of Law & Economics. Here is the abstract:
In this paper, we compare liability rules in a world where human-driven and fully-autonomous cars coexist. We develop a model where a manufacturer can invest to improve the safety of autonomous cars. Human drivers may decide to purchase a fully-autonomous car to save precaution costs to avoid road accidents and shift liability to the car manufacturer. As compared to the negligence rule, a strict liability regime on both human drivers and car manufacturers is proved to be a superior policy. In particular, strict liability leads to more efficient R&D investments to enhance the benefits of the technology and favors the adoption of fully-autonomous cars. We also recommend that users of fully-autonomous cars make a technology-dependent payment to a third-party if there is an accident to discipline their activity levels.