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.
*Note: Apply only if you have an autonomous vehicle with 10,000 miles under its belt and a million dollars (cash or bond) in its glove compartment....
California SB 1298 would expressly establish that California "presently does not prohibit or specifically regulate the operation of autonomous vehicles," direct the Department of the California Highway Patrol to "adopt regulations" regarding "specific safety requirements for the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles," and "not prohibit" such operation and testing prior to those regulations. The bill does not say who (if anyone) drives an autonomous vehicle in the legal sense, a question I asked about California's motor vehicle code in a post last month.
The bill's autonomous-driving-is-already-legal approach is similar to a proposed amendment to Florida HB 1207, though that amendment does state that "a person shall be deemed to be the operator of an autonomous vehicle operating in autonomous mode when the person causes the vehicle's autonomous technology to engage, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the vehicle while the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode." (But what if an automated system engages the autonomous technology?) Another such amendment would address liability following conversion of a vehicle to an autonomous vehicle.
Meanwhile, Arizona's bill failed in the House Transportation Committee after members expressed concern that it was too much too soon -- that is, the technology was not ready and the rulemaking burden on the state's Department of Transportation would be too great.
For a summary of all legislative and regulatory developments, see my wiki.
The automobile, noted one scholar in 1907, “is variously referred to as [an] auto, autocar, car, machine, motor, motor car, and other terms equally as common but neither complimentary nor endearing.” Motorists, for their part, included “brutes,” “fat-headed marauders,” “honking highwaymen,” and “flippant fool[s]” who wrote themselves “down both a devil and an ass.” One hopes the horseless carriages of the future will earn monikers that are more flattering. In the meantime, we are left with assorted technical phrases like “electronic blind spot assistance, crash avoidance, emergency braking, parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assistance, lane departure warnings and traffic jam and queuing assistance” to describe cars that (already) help us drive them, and with competing terms like fully automated, fully autonomous, self-driving, driverless, autopiloted, and robotic to describe cars that (may someday) drive us.
Nevada. Florida. Hawaii. Arizona. Oklahoma. As legislators move to expressly regulate automated driving, I’ll be tracking state-by-state developments on this wiki and discussing themes on this blog.
I’ll begin that discussion with a basic legal question: Who drives an automated vehicle? The answer might be no one—a truly driverless car in the legal and technical senses. It might be a natural person—the individual owner (if there is one), the occupant (ditto), or the individual who initiates the automated operation (ditto again). It might be a company—the corporate owner, the service provider, or the manufacturer. Depending on the context, it might even be some combination of these possibilities.
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.
"“There are dangers of collision, of getting thrown around,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina who focuses on autonomous vehicles, “and if you’re doing particularly intense activities, you’re going to be at risk of unusual injuries.”
This possibility doesn’t halt related brainstorming at AV conferences, he added.
“Automated vehicles as a platform for the delivery of services is a common theme,” Smith said. “Sex work is just one set of possible services. ”"
"“A person died because Uber was testing its vehicles under circumstances that appear to be irresponsible at best,” said Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina’s law school, who writes regularly about autonomous driving. “This [report] is a good start. But Uber in particular should go further.”"
"Although the report covered all the main bases, Uber should have gone even further given its self-driving car killed Herzberg, said Bryant Walker Smith, an assistant law professor at the University of South Carolina who has been studying the issues affecting autonomous vehicles. In its most glaring omission, Uber didn’t accept responsibility for Herzberg’s death — the first involving a fully autonomous vehicle, he said.
"The Transportation Network Companies Act (TNC) was passed in 2015. According to University of South Carolina Law Professor Bryant Walker Smith, who studies the ride-sharing industry, the law reads similar to those enacted in other states and supported by Uber.
Smith called the taxi business model the “legacy” and the ride-sharing business model the “disruptor.”
"Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, is sceptical that the Moral Machine survey will have any practical use. He says that the study is unrealistic because there are few instances in real life in which a vehicle would face a choice between striking two different types of people. “I might as well worry about how automated cars will deal with asteroid strikes,” Walker Smith says."
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.