Autonomous Vehicle Algorithms: Paving the Way for Automotive Liability Changes?

/ Event
Squire Patton Boggs
275 Battery St, Suite 2600
San Francisco, California 94111

Autonomous driving (AD) is intended to reduce accident rates significantly as human error – responsible for the majority of automobile accidents – is taken out of the equation.

The world’s most notable automotive and technology companies are currently engaged in expensive, multi-year research programs to create the safest AD vehicles on the road. Though the technology these companies are developing will undoubtedly save thousands of lives, many could be subject to enormous liability exposure for driving “decisions” made by their technology.

Matthew F. Miller, partner in our Products Liability Litigation group, will moderate our next panel of speakers:

  • James M. Anderson, Director of the RAND Corporation Institute for Civil Justice and Justice Policy program
  • Mike Hetke, Chief Strategy Officer of AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah
  • Michael Prince, Director and Associate General Counsel, Intel Corporation Automated Driving Group and Transportation Solutions Division
  • John Villasenor, Professor of electrical engineering, public policy, and management and visiting professor of law at UCLA; Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford

Some of the questions our panel will address include:

  • If an autonomous car causes an accident, who is liable – the driver, the software developer that created the program or the manufacturer that built it into the on-board computer?
  • What are the other liability implications for market innovators in this space as they move to roll-out the first wave of products?
  • In order to incentivize more rapid adoption of AD than would naturally occur in the face of a liability shift from driver to vehicle, will regulators and legislators need to craft liability safe harbors or immunities for OEMs and technology providers?
  • How will the liability insurance industry adapt to what could be a fundamental shift in responsibility, with the government also possibly promoting risk-sharing pools for the “greater good” of AD technologies?