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, co-director of the University of Michigan Project on Law and Mobility, a member of the US Department of Transportation's Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation, the chair of the Emerging Technology Law Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the reporter to the Uniform Law Commission's Drafting Committee on Highly Automated Vehicles, the chair of the Planning Task Force for the On-Road Automated Vehicle Standards Committee of the Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineers, a faculty affiliate of the Rule of Law Collaborative, and a member of the New York Bar.
Bryant's research focuses on issues of risk and trust in new technologies, especially automated driving systems, unmanned aerial systems, and other transportation technologies. As an internationally recognized expert on the law of driverless vehicles, Bryant taught the first-ever course on this topic (as well as the first course on hyperloops) and is regularly consulted by government, industry, and media. His publications are available at newlypossible.org
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.
In the United States over the next ten years, governments may spend some $1.5 trillion on their roadways, consumers may purchase vehicles worth nearly $3 trillion, property owners may develop millions of acres of rural land, and the US Postal Service may drive its cars and trucks approximately 12 billion miles (with FedEx alone adding 10 billion miles more). How might these massive numbers—and others like them—be harnessed to smooth the deployment of self-driving vehicle technologies?
Google has posted an inspiring video (with audio captions) of a legally blind individual riding in the front left seat of one of its self-driving cars as that car travels along a “carefully programmed route.” As the company prudently notes, the video is “a promising look at what autonomous technology may one day deliver if rigorous technology and safety standards can be met.” Both Google and a local police officer who assisted with the demo believe it to be legal.
• “Nothing is going to catch this car by surprise…. It’s going to see hundreds of feet in all directions. [You’re] not going to have a pedestrian ‘come out of nowhere’ or the ball coming to the middle of the street. This car senses a lot.”
• “Our cars are designed to avoid the kinds of situations that force people to make last-minute value judgments while driving.”
• “[Our car] always does the right thing.”
This Article focuses on one cyberphysical domain — automated driving — to methodically analyze the so-called liability problem. It considers how automated driving could affect product liability, how product liability could affect automated driving, and how each could advance or impede the prevention of injury and the compensation of victims.
Download the paper from SSRN.
How Governments Can Promote Automated Driving recommended that governments conduct “legal audits” to “identify and analyze every statute and regulation that could apply adversely or ambiguously to automated driving.” Automated Vehicles Are Probably Legal in the United States attempted this nationwi
At the outset, it's not clear to me what Silicon Valley is and isn't — or why that matters. Companies like Google are often contrasted with companies like General Motors, and yet, according to an automotive industry group, automakers spend over $100 billion every year on research and development worldwide. R&D is a form of tech innovation. Energy companies, pharmaceutical firms and financial institutions are also technological powerhouses. Innovation is central to telecommunications, defense and health care.
With the recent announcement, the US Department of Transportation is enthusiastically embracing automated driving. It’s saying that self-driving vehicles are coming in some form (or many forms) and that the agency can play a role not only in supervising but also in assisting this transportation transformation. The DOT is recognizing the wide range of relevant technologies, applications, and business models and is striving to address them more quickly and flexibly through its wide range of prospective and retrospective regulatory tools.
"It's generally difficult to hold companies criminally liable, according to Bryant Walker Smith, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law who studies autonomous vehicles. The circumstances would have to be egregious and reckless: for example, a company that paid bonuses to test drivers whose vehicles had the most close calls with pedestrians. A company that falsified information on the quality of its cars, misleading the government, would also have a higher chance of being criminally liable."
"Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor whose research focuses on automated driving systems, suggests not reading too much into the prosecutor's letter.
"It's not necessarily exculpatory — it doesn't exonerate Uber or put the company's conduct then or now beyond criticism," he writes in an email to NPR. "And I'm not sure it tells us much about the criminal, much less civil, liability of automated driving developers in future incidents."
"“The lesson here is a need for candor,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a driverless-vehicle law expert at the University of South Carolina. “What does it mean to be trustworthy in this field?”
Companies, regulatory agencies and politicians, Smith said, need to communicate clearly: “This is what we’re doing, this is why we think it’s safe, and this is why you should believe us.”"
"“What I really took away was there wasn’t the kind of data submitted to NHTSA that would give an agency the kind of confidence to make the statement it did,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina who studies autonomous vehicle policy.
"“I think a lot of policymakers [here] recognize that they don’t just want to be manufacturers [anymore],” University of South Carolina law professor Bryant Walker Smith, who studies autonomous vehicles, told VentureBeat. “Michigan’s done a better job than other states in really thinking through research and development as part of a strategy.”"
Attendees will hear leading speakers, participate in interactive breakout sessions, and network with key innovators in this exciting field. Don't miss what's in store for the Automated Vehicles Symposium 2016.
Affiliate Scholars Bryant Walker Smith and Patrick Lin are confirmed speakers.
For more information, visit the conference website.
The University of Washington School of Law is delighted to announce a public workshop on the law and policy of artificial intelligence, co-hosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab. The event places leading artificial intelligence experts from academia and industry in conversation with government officials interested in developing a wise and effective policy framework for this increasingly important technology. The event is free and open to the public but requires registration. -
The Federal Trade Commission held a one-day public workshop on January 19, 2016, 9 am - 5:30 pm, to explore competition and related issues in the context of state regulation of motor vehicle distribution, and to promote more informed analysis of how these regulations affect businesses and consumers.
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.
The ABA Annual Conference may not have been a lot of fun for, say, an institution on the cusp of a DOE smackdown, but as a member of the press — marked with a bright yellow badge in case (and the “yellow journalism” epithet did not go unnoticed) — it’s a pretty good time. With my friends from the LegalTalk Network, producers of Thinking Like A Lawyer, I had the opportunity to chat with experts as they finished their panel discussions.
The University of Washington School of Law is delighted to announce a public workshop on the law and policy of artificial intelligence, co-hosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab. The event places leading artificial intelligence experts from academia and industry in conversation with government officials interested in developing a wise and effective policy framework for this increasingly important technology.
This week, General Motors announced that it would pour $500 million into the ride-sharing service Lyft, with an aim of eventually producing a fleet of self-driving cars. And the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was filled with autonomous vehicle tech tidbits from companies such as Toyota and Nvidia. But what might a future in which all cars can drive themselves do to our cities, towns, and society? Industry observers say that while it’s clear that there will be robotic cars, it’s much less clear how people will choose to use them.
Hear about the current state of the driverless vehicle industry from experts including IEEE Member Jeffrey Miller, IEEE Fellow Wei-Bin Zhang, Bernard Soriano, and Bryant Walker Smith. In addition to present-day commentary, the panelists explored the future of the industry as it relates to technology, policy and ethics. The roundtable discussion, which was broadcast live on August 28, was moderated by Justin Pritchard of the Associated Press.
In the second episode of Futuropolis, the podcast that explores what everyday life will be like in the future, we’re tackling your daily commute. Sitting in traffic doesn’t have to be stressful and frustrating. In the future, you may be able to lean back and relax while your car watches the road for you.