The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
My recently completed article presents steps that governments can take now to encourage the development, deployment, and use of automated road vehicles. After providing technical and legal context, it describes key administrative, legal, and community strategies. It concludes by urging policymakers to facilitate automated driving in part by expecting more from today’s drivers and vehicles.
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:
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.
"Bryant Walker Smith, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, who devoted his career to studying semi-autonomous technology like Tesla uses, echoed Eustice’s sentiments, telling reporters that Tesla owners will likely have to decide between safety and convenience."
"“Every state wants to be the Silicon Valley of automated driving,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and scholar with Stanford Law School who specializes in autonomous driving. “They want to be the new hot spot where these technologies are tested.”"
"The move immediately elicited concerns from autonomous driving experts. Bryant Walker Smith, associate professor at the University of South Carolina and an expert in the legal implications of autonomous driving, wondered how the move fit into Uber's "long game."
Particularly, he said, the move seemed to be at odds with the company's broader mission to build trust in the systems and developers of autonomous vehicles."