William Widen, ‘Autonomous Vehicles, Moral Hazards and the “AV Problem”’

The autonomous vehicle (‘AV’) industry faces the following ethical question: ‘How do we know when our AV technology is safe enough to deploy at scale?’ The search for an answer to this question is the ‘AV Problem’. This essay examines that question through the lens of the July 15, 2021 filing on Form S-4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the going public transaction for Aurora Inventions, Inc.

The filing reveals that successful implementation of Aurora’s business plan in the long term depends on the truth of the following proposition: A vehicle controlled by a machine driver is safer than a vehicle controlled by a human driver (the ‘Safety Proposition’). In a material omission for which securities law liability may attach, the S-4 fails to state Aurora’s position on deployment: will Aurora delay deployment until such time as it believes the Safety Proposition is true to a reasonable certainty or will it deploy at scale earlier in the hope that increased current losses will be offset by anticipated future safety gains? …

Widen, William H, Autonomous Vehicles, Moral Hazards and the ‘AV Problem’ (August 9, 2021).

First posted 2021-08-12 11:00:17

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