Bryant Walker Smith is a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, a fellow at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS), and a lecturer in law at Stanford Law School who writes, speaks, and teaches on the legal and policy aspects of increasing automation. He is a member of the New York Bar and a former transportation engineer who has worked on infrastructure issues in the United States and throughout Europe. Bryant also chairs the Emerging Technology Law Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and the planning task force for SAE International's On-Road Automated Vehicle Standards Committee. Prior to joining Stanford, he clerked for the Honorable Evan J. Wallach at the United States Court of International Trade. Bryant holds an LL.M. in international legal studies and a J.D. (cum laude) from New York University School of Law in addition to a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin.
Bryant designed and taught the first-ever course on the legal aspects of autonomous driving, frequently lectures in both law and engineering courses, and routinely presents at major conferences, including the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, the Driverless Car Summit, and We Robot. This summer he will also welcome the Transportation Research Board's Vehicle Automation Workshop to Stanford. His white paper on the legality of self-driving vehicles and his law review article on managing autonomous travel demand were recently released, his autonomous driving blog is read within industry and government, and he is regularly interviewed for national media. Bryant's legal research addresses questions of authority, uncertainty, and boundary in disciplines ranging from tort law to administrative law to international economic law.
In honor of anyone who just took a bar exam, here's the wholly hypothetical scenario I used at last week's excellent multidiscliplinary workshop on road vehicle automation (with slight modifications): Read more » about A Self-Driving Crash Test
A century later, driverless cars and trucks have the potential to revolutionize society as much as the horseless carriages that preceded them. This emerging technology raises important questions -- about legality and liability, privacy and security, even intellectual property and land use -- that demand thoughtful analysis from a variety of perspectives. For these reasons, I am excited to be teaching an inaugural seminar on the legal aspects of autonomous driving. This Fall 2012 course is open to Stanford University students who want to meaningfully advance that analysis. Law students should preregister by this Friday, July 13th, 2012; others should follow these steps. Read more » about Stanford Students: Fall 2012 Course on the Law of Autonomous Driving
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? Read more » about Planning for Autonomous Driving
Ever since the 1930s, self-driving cars have been just 20 years away. Many of those earlier visions, however, depended on changes to physical infrastructure that never came about, such as special roads embedded with magnets. Read more » about How Do You Ticket a Driverless Car?
“Today we are well underway to a solution of the traffic problem.”1 This claim, made by Robert Moses in 1948, is as true today as it was then. Which is to say, not at all. In the middle of the last century, the preferred solution to “the traffic problem” was more cement: new highways, bridges, and lanes. Read more » about Managing Autonomous Transportation Demand
Now available in hardcopy and for Kindle (with hyperlinks).
This paper provides the most comprehensive discussion to date of whether so-called automated, autonomous, self-driving, or driverless vehicles can be lawfully sold and used on public roads in the United States. The short answer is that the computer direction of a motor vehicle’s steering, braking, and accelerating without real-time human input is probably legal. The long answer, contained in the paper, provides a foundation for tailoring regulations and understanding liability issues related to these vehicles. Read more » about Automated Vehicles are Probably Legal in the United States
Bryant Walker Smith and Tom Gasser address the legal complexities that could threaten to bedevil the automated vehicle program.
Is water a "product" subject to the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)? I argue that it is not, because the established, widespread, and consistent assertion by states of public ownership over their water resources through both municipal and international law (the "public-ownership consensus") precludes any reading of GATT that would fundamentally alter the unique status of those resources. Read more » about Water as a Public Good: The Status of Water Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
"In a November 2012 study, “Automated Vehicles are Probably Legal in the United States,” Stanford researcher Bryant Walker Smith analyzed the legal issues surrounding autonomous vehicles and concluded that since they aren’t explicitly addressed, the law does not prohibit their use." Read more » about Correcting Misconceptions about Autonomous Vehicles: Reason Magazine Editio
"But Bryant Smith, a resident fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, questioned whether it was "appropriate to have a federal legislative response" to liability issues surrounding autonomous cars."
"University of Washington law school professor Ryan Calo proposed extending selective immunity to robot manufacturers, similar to the way Congress has provided similar protection to firearm manufacturers. Calo suggested that immunity would apply only when "it is clear that the robot was under the control of the consumer."" Read more » about Will lawsuits kill the autonomous car?
"Similarly compelling questions came from Bryant Walker Smith, a Stanford fellow focused on law and policy related to driverless cars like the one being developed by Google. He presented a paper that explored whether selling such products place "longer and higher" legal duties onto the company." Read more » about Rise of robots means rethinking our laws
""Is it appropriate to have a federal legislative response to the liability question?" said Bryant Smith, a resident fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. "At this point I'm fairly agnostic."" Read more » about Robot car enthusiasts worry about new threat: lawyers
"The paper is certain to get people talking and thinking about the matter in a new light. "Clearly understanding the current legal status of these vehicles is therefore an important step toward ultimately realizing their potential," Smith says in closing." Read more » about Why Driverless Cars Are 'Probably' Legal
If the world’s steadily expanding cities are to thrive in the 21st century, how will we meet the challenges posed by global warming and the growing need for improved infrastructure, transportation, fresh food, water and clean air? Read more » about 2013 Energy for Tomorrow Conference
TRB is sponsoring the 52nd Annual Workshop on Transportation Law on July 21-24, 2013, in Nashville, Tennessee. The workshop is designed to bring together lawyers from federal, state, and local agencies and the private sector who work in all areas of transportation law. Attendees will have the opportunity to share ideas and learn from the experiences of their colleagues. Save the date, additional information on the workshop will be available online shortly. Read more » about 52nd Annual Workshop on Transportation Law
The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit is an exclusive, invitation-only summit gathering core kernel developers, distribution maintainers, ISVs, end users, system vendors and other community organizations for plenary sessions and workgroup meetings to meet face-to-face to tackle and solve the most pressing issues facing Linux today. If your company is not a member of The Linux Foundation and you are interested in joining please visit our website to learn more about how you can become a Corporate Member. Read more » about 7th Annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is pleased to host the first annual Global Symposium on Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure, May 14- 16, 2013, in Ann Arbor. This three-day event will bring together leading industry, academic and government experts to discuss and strategize how connected vehicle technology is transforming the transportation industry. Read more » about Global Symposium on Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure
Join us as we explore Half a Century of Automated Transit - Past, Present and Future: look back over the past five decades, examine the current state of APMs and related ATS, and explore what the future might hold. Half a century ago the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 provided $375 million in matching funds for public transit in the United States - there began the history of the APM. Read more » about 14th International Conference on Automated People Movers and Automated Transit
California Governor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr. visits the Google Headquarters on September 24th, 2012 to sign SB1298, a bill that creates a legal framework and operational safety standards for the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles on state roads and highways. Read more » about CA Governor Brown Signs SB1298 (Autonomous Vehicles)