Human–machine interaction in self-driving vehicles: A perspective on product liability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Cars are increasingly being automated, with the ultimate goal of creating a completely self-driving car. The interaction between the human driver or user of an automated vehicle and the driving automation will radically change from the interaction drivers now have with their vehicles. This article classifies the various new interactions that will occur as automation progresses through the six levels of automation discerned by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Smooth interaction between man and machine is critical for safety. A breakdown in interaction can easily give rise to accidents. The ensuing liability questions are difficult to solve: who is responsible for a breakdown in interaction? This article looks through the lens of EU product liability law as harmonized in directive 85/374/EC and asks whether failed man–machine interactions may be qualified as defects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-248
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of law and information technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2022


  • human–machine interaction
  • driving automation
  • product liability
  • self-driving vehicle


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