Autonomous or self-driving vehicles have been around for a long time, but have been making rapid advances in the last decade. A few months ago, the state of Michigan announced a major project aimed at equipping two roadways with the technology necessary to dedicate a lane of traffic to autonomous vehicles. Michigan’s autonomous corridor project is exciting news, but it also underscores the piecemeal nature of autonomous vehicle regulation across the country.
That may be changing now. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an advance notice of rulemaking to allow public comment on autonomous vehicle safety. While any final regulatory action is still likely years away, proposed rulemaking and public comment are important early steps in establishing industry-wide standards and safety measures.
While self-driving and fully or partially autonomous vehicles have become more and more sophisticated, there are still serious concerns about safety and privacy issues. The technology is far from infallible and has been implicated in multiple serious crashes and even fatal collisions. Another problem that may be less obvious to many consumers is vulnerability to hacking as carmakers rely on new technologies.
Will the NHTSA come up with meaningful consumer protections in this developing area of science and the law? We should know soon.
Growing up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nolan Erickson began working at Church Wyble PC in 2007 as a law clerk. Now as an attorney with Grewal Law, Mr. Erickson has developed extensive experience with all phases of trial and pre-trial resolution of personal injury matters, including major auto accident, medical malpractice, and other serious injury cases.