Bryant Walker Smith is an assistant professor in the School of Law and (by courtesy) in the School of Engineering at the University of South Carolina. He is also an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, chair of the Emerging Technology Law Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, and a member of the New York Bar.
Bryant's research focuses on risk (particularly tort law and product liability), technology (automation and connectivity), and mobility (safety and regulation). As an internationally recognized expert on the law of self-driving vehicles, Bryant taught the first-ever course on this topic and is regularly consulted by government, industry, and media. His recent article, Proximity-Driven Liability, argues that commercial sellers' growing information about, access to, and control over their products, product users, and product uses could significantly expand their point-of-sale and post-sale obligations toward people endangered by those products.
Before joining the University of South Carolina, Bryant led the legal aspects of automated driving program at Stanford University, clerked for the Hon. Evan J. Wallach at the United States Court of International Trade, and worked as a fellow at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He holds both an LL.M. in International Legal Studies and a J.D. (cum laude) from New York University School of Law and a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to his legal career, Bryant worked as a transportation engineer.
Law of the Newly Possible: http://newlypossible.org
One of my courses this semester is Technology Law: Law of the Newly Possible. This seminar, at the University of South Carolina School of Law, examines how law responds to, incorporates, and affects innovation. Read more » about Seminar on the Law of the Newly Possible
Road Vehicle Automation, which was inspired by the Transportation Research Board's eponymous 2013 workshop at Stanford, collects a variety of public, private, and academic perspectives on this nascent transportation revolution. Read more » about New Book: Road Vehicle Automation
After a great deal of careful work, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today released its final rule for the testing of "autonomous vehicles" on public roads in the state. Accompanying this rule is a Final Statement of Reasons that, on page 9, contains a striking exchange: Read more » about Something Interesting in California's New Automated Vehicle Testing Rule
Some ninety percent of motor vehicle crashes are caused at least in part by human error. This intuitive claim is a fine place to start discussions about the safety potential of vehicle automation. (It is not an appropriate place to end these discussions. Read more » about Human error as a cause of vehicle crashes
Thank you for reading my posts this week. If you happen to be Eugene Volokh or Ken Anderson, thank you in particular for making them possible. And if you were one of my thoughtful commenters, thank you for questioning and challenging; I have read your remarks with great interest. Read more » about Looking at My Vehicle Automation Entries in the Rear-View Mirror
Since the 1950s, the Long Beach Freeway has linked the massive Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to, roughly, the rest of the continental United States. Because much has changed in trade and traffic since then, California’s relevant transportation authorities have decided that perhaps this freeway should change as well. Read more » about The Impact of Automation on Environmental Impact Statements
"“It’s one thing for a human to steer her car off a cliff and quite another thing for a machine to make that choice,” Lin says. “It’s also one thing for pedestrians to be struck by a car whose driver made a bad reflexive decision and quite another thing for them to be struck because the robot car was programmed deliberately to target them or put them at greater risk. Setting expectations can help with some of this, but probably not all.”" Read more » about Your Car May Be Programmed to Kill You — and 9 More Fun Facts About Self-Driving Vehicles
"Bryant Walker Smith is a law professor at the University of South Carolina and chair of the Emerging Technology Law Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. He says, “Autonomous vehicles are necessarily a combination of hardware and software. You couldn’t simply take Google’s algorithms for the Prius and apply them to the Lexus SUV. Anything down to the tire pressure can be relevant for how a vehicle will respond in emergency situations. Read more » about Plate and Switch: Google’s Self-Driving Car Is a Transformer Too
"Perhaps not, says Bryant Walker Smith, a lawyer who researches risk and technology at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, but airlines might be prepared to accept the risk of such freak accidents. "If automation eventually succeeds in reducing the number and severity of crashes and injuries, then even if manufacturers are liable in a greater share of crashes, their actual [risk] exposure might not be higher," he says." Read more » about Are you ready to fly on a pilotless plane?
"Data gathered from vehicle telematics face roadblocks in the courtroom.
In such cases, the chain of custody is crucial, said Bryant Walker Smith, who teaches law and engineering at the University of South Carolina.
Smith said the chain of custody establishes whether there has been an opportunity for parties to manipulate data." Read more » about Lawyers reaching for in-car data
"Bryant Walker Smith, a scientist at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, describes an additional challenge: At the end of the programmers will also need to differentiate between moral and legal responsibility. "An autonomous vehicle is ultimately just a tool. Manufacturers and driver can be held liable after an accident. The driver, if he deliberately the car programmed incorrectly or not properly monitored. Or the manufacturer if he installs a defective part." Read more » about Jumped Too Short
For more information visit: http://www.umtri.umich.edu/what-were-doing/events/toyota-speaker-series-...
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and Toyota invite you to attend "Leadership in Transportation: New Perspectives on Safe and Sustainable Transportation," a series of informative and engaging conversations with leaders in transportation. Read more » about A Legal Perspective on Three Misconceptions in Vehicle Automation
For more information and to register to attend please visit: http://www.meetup.com/Silicon-Valley-Autonomous-Vehicle-Enthusiasts/even...
A legal perspective on three (mis)conceptions in vehicle automation, Bryant Walker Smith Read more » about A legal perspective on three (mis)conceptions in vehicle automation
TransOvation is a PDH-granting workshop and program focused on helping transportation design and construction industry professionals (from both the public and private sectors) build innovative thinking into their professional skill set. During this extraordinary, interactive learning event, world-class innovators use real-world examples and technologies to demonstrate approaches that can lead to new markets, increased efficiency, productivity and profit. Read more » about Transovation
"CCTV America’s Michelle Makori interviewed Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor in the School of Law and School of Engineering at the University of South Carolina, about how self-driving cars can change the way people travel." Read more » about Driverless Cars & Road Rules
“You can look forward to automation as a similar set of local and national tensions and developments and opportunities,” said Bryant Walker Smith. Smith was comparing the early days of broadband and its organic development to what we are seeing with vehicle automation. He brings a unique perspective on this topic, with both a transportation engineering and legal background. Read more at: http://viodi.com/2014/08/15/autonomous-autos-and-the-law/ Read more » about Autonomous Vehicles and the Law
The automobile has proven to be one of the most popular and transformational transport technologies ever. Now, however, slightly more than a century after its invention, there are signs that car use has stabilised or is in decline in many historic markets. Automakers are deploying new technologies they feel meet their customers' requirements but will the industry's historic business model remain relevant for the 21st century? Read more » about Adapting the Vehicle to a New Society: How Will Shifting Attitudes and Vehicle Technology Change the Way We Drive?
View the full video on our YouTube channel.
Lunch Time Discussion with Honorable Rodney Slater on the Opportunities, Challenges and Best Pathways for Successful Transportation Innovation and Policymaking
Bryant Walker Smith, CIS Resident Fellow, moderated this session.