The SciTech Lawyer, Summer 2018: Autonomous Vehicles

Vol. 14 No. 4   June 2018

Features

Technology

Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Claims Against Manufacturers of Automated Vehicles

Consumers who never had an accident are bringing complaints against car manufacturers, alleging purely economic loss in claims based on violations of consumer protection laws barring unfair and deceptive trade practices. Car companies, including those of AVs, will have to employ sound legal judgment in both product design and marketing campaigns to reduce the risk of litigation as technology and buying practices change.

Why Smart Car Safety Depends on Cybersecurity

As vehicles undergo the transformation from “smart” to “autonomous,” one limit on their safety will be whether they can be secured against unauthorized access by “bad actors” seeking to take control of their safety-critical systems. Although the move to autonomous vehicles should reduce the risks of accidents caused by driver error, the concomitant increase in two-way communication links will add cyber vulnerabilities, making safety increasingly dependent on each vehicle’s cybersecurity.

Technology

Autonomous Vehicles: 3 International Regulatory Discussions to Be Aware Of

Road safety, cybersecurity, and data protection are at the top of current international regulatory agendas. Governments are trying to find the right balance between acting faster at the national level and acting harmonically at the international level, so that they can bring AV benefits earlier to society. These discussions are key for lawyers to make sense of the whole AV regulatory picture, including its effect on international commerce.

Technology

Is the Open Road an Open Book?

The treasure trove of information gathered and held in privately owned driverless cars creates a potential clash between privacy and law enforcement interests. Recent legal and technological trends seem to be cruising towards some compromises. On the one hand, there is a narrowing of law enforcement’s ability to collect information from third-party data storage companies; on the other hand, the widespread use of biometric encryption instead of password protection might bypass the Fifth Amendment, allowing law enforcement to seek court orders to compel criminal defendants to unlock their data.

Technology

The Uneven Rise of Autonomous Vehicles and the Isolation of Rural America

Replacement of human-driven cars with AVs will be a long, ugly, and uneven process. Since AVs will require good driving data, 3-D-mapping, road surfaces, and cellular service for vehicle communication and Uber and Amazon services, dense population centers and affluent suburbs will see the transition first. The last to benefit will be those disproportionately likely to die from the traffic accidents—rural communities.

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The SciTech Lawyer is published quarterly as a service to its members by the Section of Science & Technology Law of the American Bar Association. It endeavors to provide information about current developments in law, science, medicine, and technology that is of professional interest to the members of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law.

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