Lisa Collingwood, ‘Privacy implications and liability issues of autonomous vehicles’

Autonomous vehicles have the potential for a variety of societal benefits. Individual mobility can be expanded to parties including the physically challenged, the elderly and the young. However, this article will consider two associated aspects of autonomous driving namely, privacy implications and issues of liability. Despite the many advantages of autonomous or connected vehicles, the downside in respect of privacy is that the ability to move about in relative anonymity will be lost. A secret rendezvous with a lover will be a thing of the past because the data bank associated with such vehicles will include information regarding exactly who is riding, where the passengers were picked up and dropped off, at what time and what route was taken. This information is a legitimate (and potentially very valuable!) business asset of the companies that own and operate autonomous vehicle fleets, who rely on such data to analyse how many vehicles are needed, in which locations and when they should be charged or re-fuelled, but the consequences on privacy (and the susceptibility of cyberattack) are tangible. Similarly, whilst another advantage of autonomous driving is that traffic accidents may be virtually eliminated, some people will nevertheless die or be injured in accidents involving autonomous vehicles. Therefore, in autonomous driving, a key question is that of liability and, specifically, where liability should reside in the event of such accident. This article considers how best to exploit autonomous vehicle innovation whilst, at the same time, securing the type of regulation appropriate to deal with the issues raised above.

Lisa Collingwood, Privacy implications and liability issues of autonomous vehicles, Information and Communications Technology Law volume 26, 2017 – issue 1.

First posted 2017-02-15 15:27:43

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